Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) warned against the possible widespread abuse by employers of the “no jab, no pay” policy which has been allowed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for certain establishments.
In a statement, BMP President and senatorial aspirant Luke Espiritu said the policy is a “deprivation of employment to workers in the midst of the economic crisis.”
“Millions have lost their jobs due to lockdowns and more are underemployed with no definite or sufficient income. If workers are denied their wages because of the ‘no jab, no pay’ policy, it will affect not just their jobs, but the very right to live of their families,” Espiritu lamented.
“Currently, only an estimated 25 million or half of the total labor force has been vaccinated. Why should workers be punished for the government’s failure to vaccinate its citizens? The correct ‘no jab, no pay’ should be applied to public officials liable to the lack of vaccines among Filipinos,” he added.
The labor leader stressed that the policy will only lead to cases of “constructive dismissal,” especially for unionists who are being harassed by management to resign and find another employer.
Espiritu, who filed his candidacy as a senator under the Partido Lakas ng Masa, suggested that vaccinated workers should be instead given incentives, such as two days of paid leave to allow them to rest and observe the effect of the vaccines on their bodies.
“This only shows what kind of department DOLE is. For employers, there will always be exemptions due to the pandemic and recessions, such as flexibility in paying 13th month pay, adjusted working hours, and now wages and vaccinations. For workers, there’s only one absolute rule: obey or be fired. Obey or lose your livelihood,” he underscored.
Espiritu also appealed to “fill the gaps in the Labor Code” and replace rotten, anti-labor, and pro-employer laws and policies.
“Lawmakers are purely elitist so the interests of the businessmen always prevail. The sporadic battles in factories, picket lines, and streets should come together and elect a genuine labor representative in the Senate.”
DOLE said the “no jab, no pay” policy will apply to establishments that were allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to operate provided all of their onsite staff are fully vaccinated.