Cavite workers picket garments firm, demand 13th-month pay
SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines — Workers at a Korean garments company picketed its factory in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province, after the management refused to release their state-mandated 13th month pay.
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in Cavite stepped in on Tuesday as it looked into the complaints filed by the workers’ union against Sejung Apparel, specifically allegations of contractualization and the lack of medical personnel in their workplace.
In a memorandum to its employees on Dec.12, Sejung Apparel said it would release the 13th-month pay in March next year, instead of this month.
This, however, violates the Philippine labor code, which mandates private companies to release the 13th-month benefit not later than Dec. 24. All rank-and-file employees, who have served at least a month in the company, are entitled to it, said the militant labor alliance, Partido Manggagawa.
“The 13th month pay is for Christmas, not Holy Week,” said union president Josephine Odchimar in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The company declined the Inquirer’s requests for an interview, but its general manager, Kwang Sup Eum, in the memorandum, cited “financial problem” within the company.
In a separate interview, Cynthia Foncardas, regional chief of Dole’s conciliation and mediation branch, said the company’s operations had been “on and off” since October as it claimed reduced “buyers” for its products.
Foncardas, however, said the company had yet to file for bankruptcy.—Maricar Cinco
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