DOLE told labor unions best deterrents vs abuses
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Labor unions should be recognized as the best deterrents against labor law violations and are more effective in protecting the rights and safety of workers, a leader of a national labor federation said on Wednesday.
Pete Pinlac, Makabayan national chair, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) “should support, let alone make easy the unionization of employees.”
“They should realize that labor law compliance is one of the duties of unions to their members,” he said.
To reduce labor violations, DOLE had been enforcing the labor laws compliance system (LLCS), a program that turned a year old in June.
Pinlac said firms accused of such violations have managed to evade government regulators.
“Take the case of [a shipbuilder]. Senators went there to inspect but they were denied access. The Supreme Court declared that the management [of a telecommunications company] was in violation of labor laws. Instead of complying, the management terminated all its employees,” Pinlac said.
In 2012, the number of workers’ associations in the country totaled 29,922 and consisted of 1,163,974 members, according to the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics.
In Central Luzon, 153 of 721 companies assessed in the last six months were found to have violated labor laws on salaries, wages and benefits as well as on safety regulations, data from the regional DOLE showed.
In that batch of poorly compliant firms, 102 establishments promised to correct the violations.
The 721 firms were among 6,649 companies that the regional DOLE wants to undergo the LLCS.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has appointed 56 officers in the region to implement the LLCS and help companies in seven provinces increase their compliance rate with rights and safety of workers, according to lawyer Ana Dione, DOLE Central Luzon regional director.
Throughout the country, the number of LLCS officers increased from 372 to 567 or one officer for every 120 establishments.
What the LLCS process improves, Dione said, is the “gestapo-type” of labor inspection. In a recent meeting, Dione told more than 200 company owners, managers and human resource officers that the LLCS was a “developmental approach” with four phases.
In Phase 3, she said the agency would provide technical assistance to help establishments solve their deficiencies. In Phase 4, the DOLE will resort to filing cases against delinquent companies.
“We do not want to reach Phase 4, this is why we have the LLCS to help you and your employees to exist harmoniously,” Dione said. “Giving what is due to our employees will enable them to be empowered and motivated to work harder and become more productive,” she added. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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