Clark Freeport Zone

CDC workers’ plight worsens with start of pay cuts

Joann Manabat

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CDC workers’ plight worsens with start of pay cuts

STRIKE. Clark Development Corporation employees strike on January 16, demanding the return of discontinued allowances and benefits.

Edsel Manalili

The loss of monthly income for the rank and file employees of Clark Development Corporation ranges from P4,800 to P5,250 while executives get pay hikes

CLARK FREEPORT, Philipines – Workers of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) protested the decrease in their take-home pay as salary deductions took effect with the new system approved by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GCG).

The Association of Concerned CDC Employees said 551 employees were affected by the discontinuation of allowances, benefits, and incentives under the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) since December 14, when the management lifted an earlier order to maintain the status quo.

Association president Edsel Manalili said the amount deducted from their January 15 salary ranged from P4,800 to P5,250.

“Sa rank and file, between P4,800 to P5,250 monthly. It varies, depending on one’s rank,” Manalili told Rappler in a mix of English and Filipino on Monday, January 23.

He said the first benefits to go were allowances to fund retirement and health plans.

Then in January, the CDC implemented the CPCS. By the January 15 payday, all allowances and benefits were gone, Manalili added.

What was worse, he said, was the contrast of officials getting pay hikes.

“Isipin nyo mga allowances hindi na tinatamasa ng mga manggagawa ng CDC. (Imagine workers losing their allowances.) Last January 11, based on the GCG’s letter, who enjoyed increased income? The management. But rank and file employees had none. In fact, some diminution of position happened,” the labor leader said.

He said the decision of the GCG on their appeal demoralized CDC employees.

Manalili said that after the December 14 memo lifting the status quo, they filed a notice of strike on December 27. 

When they went on strike on January 16, the labor department under Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma assumed jurisdiction (AJ) over the dispute.

A CDC statement on January 21 said the DOLE secretary issued an AJ order on January 13. 

Laguesma directed the CDC to put in escrow in favor of the employees concerned the amounts corresponding to the difference in monetary values between the GCG-approved pay and that guaranteed under their collective bargaining agreement.

CDC president and chief executive officer Agnes VST Devanadera said that the CDC management will exhaust all efforts and legal means to address the concerns of the employees on salary and benefits under the CPCS. 

“We are not the enemies here and we all have our own roles to play. However,  we ask for the employees’ understanding and patience because we are doing everything we can, and we are already talking with top officials who support us. Let us be strategic and take the bull by the horns,” said Devanadera.

Following GCG’s decision on CDC’s motion for reconsideration of the initial Authority to Implement (ATI) the June 17, 2022, CPCS, the CDC management said it would pursue all administrative remedies, including seeking the intervention of the Office of the President to address the employees’ concerns.

CDC management also vowed to expedite the reorganization to address the issues of job description and job gradings.

A memo issued by Devenadera on January 18 said the CDC will “request and obtain necessary approvals prescribed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for the release of the supplemental budget to enforce the January 11 ATI.

This, she said, would be retroactive from October 5, 2021 either at step 1 or the step nearest to the personnel’s present basic monthly pay, following the CPCS guidelines on non-diminution of salaries.

GCG issued its resolution on the motion for reconsideration filed by CDC last January 11 with  reconsiderations of job grade assignments and inclusion of co-terminus positions. 

Positions on Job Level 12 and up were reconsidered to be 2 steps higher, while those on Job Level 11 and below were reconsidered to be one step higher. –

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