By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) called on the newly-installed president of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to heed the demand of at least 180 striking contractual janitors for reinstatement.
PUP president Emmanuel de Guzman assumed office amid a labor dispute in the university’s Sta. Mesa campus. The dispute arose when janitors who have been working at the campus for decades already were terminated (or not absorbed) by the university’s newly contracted service agency called Carebest last February. The janitors had since then put up their picketline in front of the PUP main building in Sta. Mesa.
Carebest has refused to absorb the said 180 janitors despite the PUP’s long-standing practice of asking service contractors to absorb the janitors and despite the PUP administration’s memorandum of agreement with the janitors stipulating that they would be absorbed by the new agency.
The MOA was signed between PUP’s former officer-in-charge Estelita Wi Dela Rosa and Samahan ng mga Janitors sa PUP (SJPUP) president Rey Cogomoc.
“We call on the PUP President De Guzman to side with the striking workers and heed their just demand for job reinstatement. Reinstating them to work will be a significant gesture on the part of the new PUP administration,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairman. The PUP president reportedly has the power to end or enter into contracts with service agencies.
“The workers should have been employed as regulars for having worked in the university for decades, but they were booted out from work instead. Their termination is most unjust,” Labog said in a statement.
The labor leader urged de Guzman to “terminate the university’s contract with Carebest, given its refusal to implement the MOA between the PUP administration and the union, and initiate instead a new contract with a service agency that would absorb the workers.”
“Every day that passes is getting more and more difficult for the workers, especially now that their children are going to school,” Labog said. They asked the public to support the PUP janitors’ “fight for reinstatement and against contractualization.”