CDC workers up in arms on new pay scheme

CLARK FREEPORT — Workers of Clark Development Corporation (CDC) are now up in arms over the implementation of the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) which only demoralized employees, especially those who have been employed in the corporation for almost 30 years.

Expressing dismay and protesting the CPCS Authority to Implement (ATI) issued by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GCG) to CDC last June 22, 2022, members of the Association of Concerned CDC Employees (ACCES) donned black clothing and marched around the CDC corporate offices during their free time to show their opposition on the imposition of the new pay-scale system.

Under the CPCS table issued to CDC, only 35 members of the top management — from managers to president — saw wage increases, while more than 635 rank-and-file workers saw diminutions on their income.

Among the allowances, benefits, and incentives to be discontinued are health coverage, retirement plan, cost-of-living allowance (COLA), housing, utilities and transportation allowances, the Meritorious Service Pay (MSP) based on length of service, and the retirement package or separation pay that is also based on the length of service.

These benefits were granted on the basis of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) since the inception of the union in 1997. CDC labor union members said the suspension of their benefits will have a strong blow to their families, given the inflation on basic commodities and oil price hike in the country.

The workers’ predicament was further aggravated by CDC’s looming shift on insurance coverage from the Social Security System (SSS) to Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Prospective membership will supposedly take effect on July 1, 2022, as imposed during a “dialogue” spearheaded by the management. On the other hand, employees who will choose to activate their membership retroactively would have to pay arrears in contributions to GSIS covering their years of service in CDC.

In a letter dated June 20, 2022 addressed to CDC President and CEO PBGen. Manuel R. Gaerlan by the officials of ACCES, the union said that the migration to GSIS is “a direct violation of their existing Collective Bargaining Agreement” making this “tantamount to unfair labor practice. Our CBA partakes the nature not simply of a contract between us, but the very law that binds us. Any contrary opinion will not matter. More importantly, our right to CBA is protected by the Labor Code and guaranteed by our Constitution. This is what binds us and NOT any one’s opinion,” the ACCES said in its letter.

The union members appealed to Gaerlan and the CDC Board of Directors to exhaust all efforts in appealing, postponing, and halting the CPCS implementation as this will greatly affect the financial status of the CDC labor force especially the rank-and-file employees. Members also urged the CDC president to impose a status quo on the current compensation system and benefits, including the shift to GSIS that requires higher premiums and entail lesser take home pay.

Finally, ACCES president Edsel Manalili expressed hope for a peaceful and equitable resolution of the issues at hand saying, “ACCES is the bridge between employees and management. Let us cross that bridge together for the sake of CDC employees who are on their way to serving 30 years in the corporation. But if you build a wall, we will tear it down.”

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