Bishop urges DOLE to probe retrenchment of workers

By Leslie Ann Aquino 

A Catholic prelate has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate the series of retrenchment of workers in the country.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo (CBCP NEWS / ROY LAGARDE) Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo

"The government should investigate if there is real reason for the retrenchment," Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said on Tuesday.

"It is sad that the workers are retrenched. If the companies are having a hard time with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the workers too will have a hard time without work," he added.

The Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila also asked the government to create more jobs for the people.

"That has always been the demand of workers, to create more jobs," said Pabillo.

Philippine Airlines had earlier announced its decision to lay off some 300 administrative and management staff through "voluntary separation" and retrenchment in order to allow the company to trim losses which have been amplified by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Honda Motors also announced its decision to close its manufacturing plant in Laguna.

The news of workers being retrenched also saddened Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos who urged companies to make an honest examination of their motivation for such decision.

"It becomes unethical and a violation of workers' rights if it was intended to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding more to the ranks of the excluded," he said.

Alminaza added that in Catholic social teachings, labor has primacy over capital.

"The economy must serve the people not the other way around. If the dignity of work has to be protected, the workers' right must be protected as well, including their right to productive work, just remuneration, decent working conditions, and to form associations for their mutual benefits," he said.

The San Carlos prelate said the management should also involve the workers in the decision-making.

"Great care should be done to minimize the adverse impact of such a decision through sincere dialogue and unflinching commitment for the common good," he said.

The government, Alminaza said should help in ensuring that the rights of workers are not compromised.