Sunday, December 29, 2019

DOLE slammed for inaction on 13th month pay issue of “Grinch” company in Cavite

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for lack of action in enforcing the mandatory payment of the 13th month benefit for workers of a garments factory in Cavite.

“December 24 has come and gone but the DOLE still refuses to use it powers to enforce the payment of wages and 13th month pay for workers of a ‘Grinch’ company,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM national chair. Workers of Sejung Apparel Inc. in the First Cavite Industrial Estate have been on picket-protest since December 12.

Tomorrow, Senator Risa Hontiveros is set to visit the Sejung picketline to bring moral and logistical support to the workers.

“While DOLE officials in the national and regional offices are enjoying their happy holidays, Sejung workers had a sad Christmas and are facing a bleak New Year since labor standards are not being enforced,” Magtubo insisted.

Josephine Odchimar, president of the labor union at Sejung, stated that DOLE had already conducted a factory inspection last December 19 and promised to issue an order if management does not release the 13th month pay on December 24 as mandated. However, she added that DOLE did not issue an order and instead is trying to schedule another inspection.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. What’s keeping the DOLE regional office from issuing a compliance order? Even during the mediation hearings, Sejung maintained its illegal and hardline stance that it will grant the 13th month pay in March not December. Yet the DOLE dare not lift a finger even as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello issued press releases reminding employers about the payment of the 13th month benefit,” Magtubo averred.

Workers set up a picketline outside the factory to guard against machines being taken out of the factory and prevent a runaway shop. Sejung workers are also demanding a stop the transfer of machines and an end to subcontracting of production. “The company’s argument of lack of buyers is just an alibi. The truth is that production is being subcontracted by Sejung to other companies,” Odchimar asserted.

Workers believe management is maneuvering to bust the union. The union won the certification elections in August. The company temp closed down in October, a week after the union submitted a proposal for a collective bargaining agreement. After a month, the company reopened.

“The pattern of companies inside ecozones shutting down to bust unions is well documented. It appears that Sejung is following this modus operandi of union busting,” Magtubo asserted.

December 29, 2019

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