Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Labor group: 'Profiling' of teachers violates right to unionism

A LABOR group based in Negros Occidental said the "profiling" of teachers by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) violates the right to unionism.

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of General Alliance and Workers Association (Gawa), said unionism is a constitutional right.

Sancho said aside from being a human right, it is also a statutory right under the labor code.

“Workers in the public sector are also covered by Executive Order No. 180 issued during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino,” he said, adding that “it allows unionism in the public sector.”

The local labor leader is reacting to the reported “profiling” of some members of the Association of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in the country.

Though, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has already clarified that there is no crackdown against educators who were members of ACT.

Año, in a statement Monday, January 7, said what the PNP is undertaking is “simply intelligence or information gathering which is one of its major functions.”

“It is the responsibility of the PNP to monitor any and all groups and organizations critical of the government especially those linked to militant organizations whose objective is to overthrow the duly-elected government,” he added.

The PNP has been in hot water following the leakage of an intelligence memorandum that instructs the police to conduct an inventory of public and private school teachers who are members of ACT.

The teacher's group said such order has caused fear among its members.

Three intelligence officials were relieved from the post due to the incident, prompting the teacher's group to picket outside police and education department offices and denounce the said memorandum.

According to Gawa, for the police to monitor or make profiling on labor advocate like trade unionists, whether in public or private schools, is a violation of civil rights.

In particular, this violates the right to form an association which is actually not contrary to the law, Sancho said.

“Labor unions are not organized to support communism or arm struggle,” he said, stressing that “these are basic rights to be implemented under the constitution.”

The labor group also claimed that if such "move" of the police would continue, it would create an aura of fear among workers.

Thus, there is a need to review such kind of policy, its secretary general said.

“If I may suggest, the police should attend a basic seminar on basic unionism so they will understand what is a union, or a labor union for this matter,” Sancho added. (EPN)


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