DOT says, “No retrenchment for Duty Free union workers in January”

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Duty Free Workers assured of no rush to reorganization, DOT to study GCG’s reorg plan

More than 700 workers from the government’s tourism sector got a whiff of fresh air this Christmas.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW)-affiliated United Workers of Duty Free Philippines (UWDP) and its members were elated with the assurance of  Tourism Secretary Cristina Garcia-Frasco that no retrenchment will be made effective in January 2023.

According to FFW president Sonny Matula, Frasco gave the assurance during a dialogue she conducted with union officers of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), together with DOT undersecretaries Ferdinand Jumapao, Shereen Pamintuan, and Shalimar Tamano last week.

“The union is grateful to Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco for listening to the pleas of the DFPC employees whom we duly represent, “ UWDP union president Ernesto Mangalindan said.

“We had a very meaningful and fruitful discussion, one that is filled with goodness and hope as what the message of Christmas brings. We are thankful to the men and women of Department of Tourism for making that eventful meeting happen,” Mangalindan added.

Secretary Frasco’s assurance not to rush but to review the re-organization of Duty Free Philippines Corporation gave the union and its members a fresh breathing space, especially for those employees who will be affected.

The union also requested that a task force composed of DOT Officers and union representatives be convened to thresh-out  and address long unresolved matters such as employee benefits and other employment-related matters.

They likewise enjoined the DOT to place the restructuring plan “under urgent evaluation.”

FFW president Sonny Matula with UWDFP members

Last September 23, the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) came out with a transmittal—addressed to Hon. Christina Garcia-Frasco, DOT Secretary and Chairman of the Board of the Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) and Vicente Pelagio A. Angala, Chief Operating Officer of DFPC—informing them of GCG Memorandum Order No. 2022-08 approving the Restructuring Plan of Duty Free Philippines Corporation which will take effect in January 2023.

The restructuring plan will cover the 32 organizational units of DFPC, allocating 345 plantilla positions from the current staff of more than 1,000. 

These 345 positions are up for grabs and not automatically vested to existing and identified personnel of DFPC as they will have to apply anew to be qualified and engaged by DFPC.  This will definitely result in massive retrenchment of DFPC employees numbering around 740 employees all over the country, the UWDP said.

“The United Workers of DFP as the duly-elected Union and the Sole and Exclusive Negotiating Agent of the DFPC rank-and-file employees would like to express its objections to the Restructuring Plan for DFPC as approved by GCG,” the union stressed.

The union with the FFW registered the opinion that “the memorandum order approving the restructuring and/or reorganization of DFPC on alleged grounds of COVID-19 pandemic is without factual and legal basis.” 

“There was no meaningful consultation in this case contrary to Chapter II, Section 5 of Republic Act No. 10149 also known as the ‘GOCC Governance Act of 2011’ provides for the powers and functions of the GCG.  One such power is to evaluate the performance and determine the relevance of the GOCC and based on such evaluation and determination, ascertain whether such GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished, or privatized, in consultation with the department or agency to which the GOCC is attached,” said the UWDP.



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