By Erma Edera
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the contractors of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co.-Philippines (HHICC-Phil) Inc. have officially terminated the employment of all their workers this month.
The labor department said that the contractors have already sent notices of termination to the remaining workers in HHICC-Phil which will take effect on March 30.
Greenbeach, one of the contractors was able to rehire 200 displaced workers after it was tapped by HHICC-Phil to maintain the 300-hectare grounds in Subic.
However, 53 of the affected contractual workers, who are members of the Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Hanjin Shipyard (Samahan), continue to reject the simultaneous termination orders issued on March 1 by respective contractors.
They said that they would still want to directly work for either HHICC-Phil or the company which will take over its shipyard in Subic.
Samahan President Efren Vinluan said the HHICC-Phil still has two ships and four in the pipeline which are still undergoing construction.
“We are asking DOLE to endorse our letter to Hanjin or the new company,” Vinluan said.
DOLE undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez said they are puzzled why the workers would still want to be employed despite the uncertain outcome of its rehabilitation.
The remaining workers also refused to receive their benefits because they did not want to apply for the voluntary retrenchment program.
“The Secretary of Labor pledged that we will facilitate the separation pay but the workers don’t want to take it because they want to return to Hanjin. They are questioning the retrenchment,” Benavidez said.
HHICC-Phil has already ceased all of its shipbuilding operations due to lack of funding.
In a “commencement order” dated Jan. 14, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72 has formally declared the debt-ridden shipbuilding firm under corporate rehabilitation.
Hanjin revealed that it has USD1.3 billion in outstanding loans — USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.