By Mario Casayuran
Senator Imee R. Marcos, chairperson of the Senate economic affairs committee, said today supermarket owners should be held liable for depriving employees of personal protective equipment (PPE) meant to protect them from being infected by coronavirus disease (Covid-19) while at work.
Marcos said the lack of protection for workers in close contact with the public everyday violates directives the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed on Labor Day, almost three weeks ago.
She pointed out that supermarket workers are being forced to spend from their own pockets for face masks, alcohol, and hand sanitizers.
“One supermarket provided face masks only once and left workers to buy their own from then on. The security guards were given face shields but had to spend for their face masks,” Marcos said.
“The DOLE and DTI should investigate this (form of) labor abuse by supermarket owners and punish those found guilty,” she added.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez signed guidelines on May 1 directing employers to ensure health protection for their workers by providing them with PPE.
“With the measly wages that cashiers, baggers, and promodizers earn, how could supermarket owners feel no guilt depriving their workers of simple face masks?” Marcos asked.