Digitel Employees Still on Hunger Strike

PLDT, Digitel, DEU, Protest, Labor Union

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PLDT, Digitel, DEU, Protest, Labor Union

It just so happened that today is Labor Day and I am writing this right now.

On my way home yesterday from a meeting with my fellow bloggers at Greenbelt 3, I happened to pass by a certain area where in there a lots of policemen and guards. In front of the building are improvised tents made of sacks wherein a group of people stays. I saw on their banner that they are from the Digitel Employees Union. To my curiosity, I stayed for a couple of minutes and observed why they are there and tried to talk to a few people from where the guards cannot see me.

I’ve found out that these people from DEU have been requesting to be absorbed by PLDT as the new parent company of Digitel. It was known to almost everyone that PLDT had a merger with Digitel. After PLDT acquired Digitel, the former offered a voluntary retirement program to the latter’s employees. But come to think of it that if it is a voluntary retirement program, why would these people stay on that place and rally for them to be heard. Some of them said that the retirement program is just a sugar coating to what PLDT really want—for them to be out of the picture. They have been protesting since April 10.

When I got home, I tried to check on the online news to see what was that rallying really all about. In an issue of the Business Inquirer, according to DEU, PLDT has threatened the Digitel employees that they will be removed from their posts and a lower retirement package will be given to them. There was also a decision from the Supreme Court issued last January 21 stating that PLDT should recognize and negotiate with the labor union. But DEU said that the telco giant defied that order.

On that same article that I have read, PLDT said that majority of the affected employees already accepted the retirement package. PLDT also said that they have an alternative employment available to the two-thirds of those employees, and those who were not given the opportunity for that employment were given various forms of assistance during transition program on top of the retirement package. But the people of Digitel Employees Union said that everything is just for PLDT to replace them with contractual employees.

On my personal point of view, quoting the decision of the Supreme Court that  PLDT should recognize and negotiate with the labor union, PLDT indeed should not force anyone to accept that retirement package. Instead, they should offer them a more acceptable one. Yes, I believe that PLDT is doing it for the profitability of their business for the long haul, but you will probably agree with me that the welfare of the employees must also be the company’s major responsibility.

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