A group of workers has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to bring back the holidays he previously declared as working holidays.
Last week, Duterte declared Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, Dec, 24, Christmas Eve, and Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve as special working days in a bid to boost the economy.
“This is an instant deletion of our benefits during special holidays which include a 30 percent premium pay for ordinary wage earners – or higher if unionized and there is a collective bargaining agreement (CBA),” Federation of Free Workers (FFW) official Adrian Agutep said.
The FFW and other members of the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition insisted that reducing non-working holidays “is a deprivation of our long-time vested right without due process of law.”
The group added that workers the CBA did not cover would lose additional income due to Duterte’s “hasty” decision.
Under Labor Code, only December 31 is considered as a special nationwide holiday while November 2 and December 24 were not special non-working holidays under existing laws.
Bring back non-working holidays – workers group
“Workers have been enjoying Dec. 31 as a special holiday with premium pay, for several decades now bolsters our vehement objection to its delisting,” FFW said.
FFW said there was a pattern of exploitation of workers under the guise of “economic recovery.”
“The pattern is clear. They intend to save the economy by sacrificing the working class. This is a classic way of capital accumulation,” the group said.
FFW also said Malacañang did not consult trade unions before deleting the non-working holidays.
Vice President Leni Robredo also opposed the decision to make Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, Dec, 24, Christmas Eve, and Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve as special working days.
“It could have big implications because you will pay the workers more if they work on a regular holiday,” she pointed out.
“There are many ways to reopen the economy. First of all, if the vacation is longer, the workers will have the opportunity to go home and spend time with their families, that I think could help the economy more,” Robredo added.