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Shopee employees protest at the Labor Department on employees’ right to form a union

MANILA – After a labor arbitrator purportedly reversed a judgment on a corporate employee’s ability to establish a union, delivery drivers and other Shopee employees protested outside the Department of Labor and Employment headquarters.

The adjudicator changed his mind on December 29, only two days after initially deciding in favor of Shoppee employees, claims Eduardo Laurencio, secretary general of the Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO).

According to the original decision made on December 27, Shopee employees have an employee-employer connection with the business, which entitles them to unionize and engage in contract negotiations.

The arbitrator effectively determined that this relationship is no longer recognized because the decision was reversed.

The employees worry that the business will now be able to terminate their employment at will.

They also criticized Bienvenido Laguesma, the secretary of labor, for raising their expectations when he asked them to have a conversation to discuss their condition.

Laguesma later clarified in a text message that he has already asked for a factual background and that it might not be suitable for him to speak on the situation.

If ever, the matter is still unresolved and might be the focus of an appeal, a move for reconsideration, or even a petition to the CA and SC (Supreme Court). Therefore, I might not be able to remark on the subject. I have previously asked for the relevant historical facts.

Leody De Guzman, a labor leader and past candidate for president, attended the demonstration to support the employees.

He pressed Laguesma to demonstrate his support for workers.

De Guzman further stressed the significance of the arbiter’s ruling in the Shopee workers’ case because it will set a precedent for other industry workers.

“Sila’yan’ya ‘yung bumuhay sa atin noong panahon ng pandemya. Is it still routine for you to deliver goods such as pagkain, gomot, and gatas, or is it not routine any longer? Is there any job security if it’s contractual, at sila’y pa rin?” De Guzman furthered.

Throughout the pandemic, they were essential. Why are they still regarded as ordinary workers today since they frequently supplied food, medications, and milk? Why are they still employed under contract and have no job security.)

Shopee employees promised to escalate their protest until DOLE was compelled to reverse the arbitrator’s decision.

They assert that labor concerns are a problem for more than 300 Shopee drivers. This does not yet include riders and sorters, which Shopee also contracts with manning companies for.

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