PUP janitors demand delayed benefits

This article is available in Pilipino

Janitors and members of the Samahan ng Janitorial (SJ), Anakbayan members and students picketed before the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Santa Mesa, Manila on March 13 to demand payment of delayed benefits of the janitors from Starcom Manpower Agency. The protest was held during a dialogue between PUPSJ officials and agency representatives.

The janitors first communicated their grievances last year to PUP officials so that the university would forward the issues they were facing to the labor agency. Until now, there has been no progress in their call for delayed benefits such as incentives, 13th month pay, retroactive pay, and lack of transparency in their wages.

The Catalyst newspaper reported that the dialogue between the janitors and the agency reopened on January 23. However, three months later the janitors were just deceived with promises and were told their complaint would be “relayed” to the agency’s leadership.

According to Tatay Jun Jorda, president of the PUPSJ union, an official of the agency should faced them instead of a representative to promote certainty and conclude the dialogue. “Answers are always indeterminate,” he said.

One of the complaints of the janitors is that they are being paid inconsistently and the pay does not match what is on the payslip given by the agency.

“It only says total payment. We don’t know how to explain to our co-workers when they ask about the amount they get because there is no breakdown. So what we want is transparency since we started work last year and how much,” Darwin Vista, SJPUP 2nd Vice President, said in an interview with The Catalyst.

Faced with the union’s demand, the StarcomM Agency promised to provide a breakdown of the retroactive pay demanded by the workers on March 27. It will contain the number of days that the janitorial workers reported for work and the exact amount of wages.

Meanwhile, the 13th month pay was given only this March to the janitors after almost a year of insistence. However, the agency wants janitors not to carry out protest actions or any form of protest such as Oplan Paskilan, in exchange for payment.

At the end of the dialogue, StarcomM Agency promised to resolve all the demands of the janitors by March. This includes the issue of retroactive payslip, transparency and delayed benefits and incentives. Those who attended the dialogue also signed as proof of their agreement and fulfillment of the initial resolutions.

“We have been waiting for a long time, so if there is still no solution after this dialogue, we are ready to go…to the [Department of] Labor and Employment. Do you know that even a slight delay in receiving wages, our workers immediately borrow money, so it is really difficult,” said Jorda.

SJPUP representatives, some PUP officials, StarcomM officials, NAFLU-KMU representatives, and Anakbayan PUP and SAMASA PUP representatives attended the dialogue.

AB: PUP janitors demand delayed benefits