Labor fed bares ‘unjust’ employer practices during COVID-19 pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – Labor federation Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER) released March 28 its first list of employers who have engaged in “unjust” practices, such as “no work, no pay” schemes, layoff/retrenchment, and “endo” during the Luzon-wide lockdown arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Labor fed bares ‘unjust’ employer practices during COVID-19 pandemic

In a labor survey conducted between March 19 and 22 with verified complaining workers, SUPER gathered 318 reports of unjust employer practices of 160 companies.

These reports include companies that are allegedly using the crisis to justify illegal termination of its workers (11 companies), workers made to work under the “no work, no pay” scheme but without transport being provided; (81 companies), flexible work arrangements but with reduced pay (28 companies), suspension of work without pay (98 companies) coupled with refusal to apply for the financial assistance programs being offered by the Department of Labor (56 companies).

“Malacanang’s only response to the COVID-19 pandemic is strict quarantine, without giving thought to the economic dislocation except that it gave a mere suggestion to employers to address their workers’ needs,” Luke Espiritu, National President of SUPER, said.

According to Espiritu, the survey proves that reliance on employer volunteerism is farcical because rather than cooperating with their workers in this time of crisis, employers tend to take advantage of the situation to deepen the precarious nature of work.

The Department of Labor has created financial assistance programs for workers affected by work suspensions such as the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), however, Espiritu said that it cannot be accessed directly by the workers and they have to wait for management to accomplish and file the necessary forms with the regional labor office.

“There are a lot of companies that simply refuse to apply even if the procedure for the program is simple. The amount of assistance is very little, only P5,000, but at least it could have helped our workers.” Espiritu added.

The list is currently being relayed in official correspondence to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and their respective local government units where the companies are located.

In addition, the list of companies practicing these policies will be updated regularly to increase public pressure and force companies to do their part to “flatten the curve.”

A second survey is being conducted starting on March 28 until April 5, which will include employers who are not issuing personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees or practice social distancing, and refusing to pay unionized workers with paid emergency leaves provided in their collective bargaining agreements.

— The Summit Express

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