By Analou De Vera
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has urged employers and business-owners to conduct an inspection of their establishments for possible damage caused by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck parts of Luzon late Monday afternoon.
“It is possible that the damage may not be immediately obvious but it already impacted the integrity of the workplace structure and may cause irreparable damage due to aftershocks and future earthquakes. So it is important for employers to double check the work site for damages immediately after Monday’s event,” said TUCP President Raymond Mendoza.
Mendoza also lauded the employers and business enterprises which ensured the safety of their employees during the quake.
“We thank those employers whose top of mind were to safely secure their employees and take them out of harm’s way by way of bringing them to safer place before they were advised to go home,” he said.
Mendoza said that they also received reports that some employers allowed their employees to continue working despite the dangers caused by the earthquake.
“We received many reports from workers and employees last night about their bad ordeal with their managers, supervisors, and employers who did not evacuate them out of the building and from those who were kept from going home and were ordered to return to work despite the dangers and hazards on the workplace caused by the quake,” he said.
“This company practice or policy is a form of abuse and it must be condemned because it imperils the lives of their employees and jeopardizes the safety and health of workers,” he added.
Mendoza reminded workers that they have the right to refuse to work if they know that the workplace is unsafe to work in under Republic Act 11058, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law.
“Workers now have the right to refuse to work in an unsafe workplace. If workers were forced to work despite of the notice of unsafe workplace, employers, contractors, and business-owners are administratively liable,” he said.
Read more: Strong 6.1 quake jolts Metro, Luzon