Plea for protection: DOLE urged to probe 'intensified' labor violations amid pandemic

Published August 27, 2021, 3:23 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is urging the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to act on and investigate cases of workers’ rights violations which they said have intensified in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

(Photo from Unsplash)

KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis said compliance orders and statements on wages being issued by DOLE are “obviously insufficient” as reports on workers’ rights violations continue to pile up.

Adonis added that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III should proactively know the plight of the workers especially in this time of crisis.

“Kailangan ng agarang aksyon at political will ng DOLE para maprotektahan ang mga manggagawa. Kalunos-lunos ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa–gutom at walang ayuda sa gitna ng lockdown (DOLE needs immediate action and political will to protect the workers who have been hungry and helpless in the middle of a lockdown),” he explained.

The group issued the statement after several groups of workers in the private and public sectors sought help from DOLE regarding their complaints against their employers.

Last Aug. 23, disgruntled workers of mobile phone firm Vivo Tech, Inc. staged a protest in front of the DOLE office in Intramuros, Manila saying that the company illegally terminated 689 employees for forming a union.

They also challenged Vivo’s claim that workers have been retrenched due to financial losses as they were still able to deliver at least P300,000 earnings in a month.

The Labor chief already vowed to launch a probe to resolve the issue once a formal complaint has been filed. He likewise assured that the company will be dealt with accordingly if it turns out to be a “union buster.”

Aside from this, KMU also mentioned the imposition of a “no work, no pay” policy at a construction project in Brgy. E. Rodriguez, Quezon City which has resulted in the COVID-19 infection of 26 workers and the lockdown of more than 270 more at the site.

According to KMU, several workplaces including local government offices also continue to implement a “no vaccine, no work” policy.

DOLE earlier pronounced that such policies are illegal but it is yet to enforce and implement penalties for related violations.