Monday, March 30, 2020

Thousands of workers without aid from employers, gov’t

Private firms urged not to fire employees unable to work due to ...

Thousands of workers still have not received assistance from either their employers, the government or both according to labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM).

“The no work, no pay policy is a recipe for hunger. We call on employers to grant quarantine subsidy to their workers and for the government to mandate companies to provide such assistance,” argued Rene Magtubo, PM national chair. PM and other group are calling for P10,000 quarantine subsidy for formal workers affected by the covid pandemic.

Based in the groups monitoring of several factories in the ecozones of Cavite, majority have received not a single centavo of support since firms shuttered. A few received some assistance from their employers. However, all of the workers surveyed have not received the P5,000 CAMP subsidy from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) 1 and 1 in Rosario, Tanza and General Trias Cavite shutdown on the night of March 19.

“The Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) in Lapu-Lapu shutdown last Sunday, throwing out of work some 100,000 workers which will add to the conservative figure of 500,000 DOLE Sec. Bello reported as affected by covid lockdown. Unfortunately, except for one electronics company in MEZ, we know that foreign locators let go of workers without substantial assistance,” Magtubo explained.

According to PM, a giant garments company in MEZ that supplies to global brands is refusing to grant quarantine subsidy to some 17,000 employees and instead only gave a token 5 kilos of rice with some canned goods. A large car parts supplier in Cavite employing some 9,000 workers gave pro-rated 13th month pay to their workers. Both these companies in Mactan and Cavite applied for the CAMP from DOLE assistance but workers have not received the P5,000 subsidy.

Magtubo averred that “Foreign investors should shoulder temporary losses due to the covid pandemic. Employers have benefited from recent economic growth without sharing the bounty with their workers. This was revealed in a Department of Finance study showing labor productivity grew by at least 50 percent, yet real wages were stagnant from 2001 to 2016. Moreover, foreign investors in the ecozones enjoyed tax breaks and other privileges for years. Now that there is a crisis, employers are morally obliged not to pass on the burden to their hapless workers.”

He added that “A survey of five factories in the Cavite ecozone revealed that all did not grant any assistance to their workers and also none have received any support from the DOLE. Four of these are garments factories while the last is a metal firm. In total, the five factories employs at least 2,000 workers. Eleven days into the lockdown, they all face increasing difficulties due to the lack of support.”

Magtubo insisted that “We also know of three companies, two in Silang, Cavite and one in Dasmarinas, which applied for the DOLE CAMP but again none of the workers have received the P5,000 assistance. The Dasmarinas firm and one of the Silang companies did not grant any support to their workers while the last one gave seven days paid quarantine.”

March 30, 2020

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