DOLE urged to issue clear rules upholding workers’ rights vs ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021   •   768

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue clear guidelines as he warned against discriminating workers who opt out of vaccination programs implemented by their employers.

In a statement, Villanueva said DOLE should issue rules on the matter to ensure that both workers and employers stand on a level playing field.

Instead of forcing workers to be inoculated and threatening them with termination from employment, the senator stressed that companies should make efforts to build confidence in taking COVID-19 vaccines.

Villanueva issued the remark in response to reports that some employers are implementing a “no vaccine, no work” policy.

“A worker who is not yet immune from virus shouldn’t lose his immunity from being fired arbitrarily,” he said.

“The biggest challenge at the moment for the labor-employer-government tripartite is not just to give more workers better vaccines but also to increase vaccine confidence,” he added.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said that implementing a “no vaccine, no work” policy is illegal and could be considered as a discrimination.

Bello also pointed out that at present, the country does not have enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate workers.

The policy came to light after some workers in the agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors allegedly complained about it.

According to Villanueva, employees should not be faulted for refusing to be inoculated if they have concerns over the vaccines that would be used on them.

“Sa pagbabakuna, the best pa rin po ang ‘Sana All.’ We cannot have a workforce divided between the ‘Jabbed’ and the ‘Jabbed Nots,’” he said.

He also urged the government to ramp up its campaign against public vaccine hesitancy in order to attain its goal of reviving the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenge for our government right now is to increase the level of confidence of our people on the vaccines,” Villanueva said.

“There has to be a concerted effort to bring up the degree of trust on vaccines because the restoration of jobs lost in the pandemic, and to a larger extent, our economic recovery, depend on the success of the vaccination program,” he added.

Labor group seeks probe on ‘no vaccine-no salary’ policy

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALO-TUCP) is seeking an investigation into the alleged “no vaccine-no salary” scheme imposed by some employers on their workers.

The group said they already forwarded the matter to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the agency to launch its investigation as the number of employees complaining of not receiving their salaries is increasing.

“Nagsusumbong sa amin yung mga manggagawa at sinasabi nila hindi raw sila pinapasahod at hindi ibinibigay ang kanilang sahod hanggang hindi sila nagpapakita ng complete vaccination card dun sa kanilang employer,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALO-TUCP spokesperson.

Tanjusay said that aside from being a violation of labor laws, the alleged scheme is a violation of human rights just because an employee is not yet vaccinated.

“Ito ay ipinagbabawal, ito ay isang diskriminasyon,” Tanjusay insisted.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, meanwhile, said they are just awaiting the details of the complaint, such as the name and other specifics of the concerned company, for them to make the necessary action.

“Alam naman natin na yang policy na yan ay labag sa batas. Under the law hindi mo pwedeng ano i-hold ang sweldo ng employee mo unless there is a legal basis or legal clause. Eh yung hindi po pagba-vaccine o pagbabakuna hindi yan legal basis to withhold the salary of the employees,” Bello said.

Tanjusay, on the other hand, urged the DOLE to issue an order that will stop the no vaccine-no salary scheme.

“DOLE must issue an advisory or guidelines to avoid the spread of ‘no vaccine, no salary’ scheme,” he said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

DOTr, DOLE sign MOA to provide livelihood assistance to transport workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday, October 12, signed a memorandum of agreement to provide livelihood assistance to  transport workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

The eTSUPERneur program is a long-term solution that provides transport workers with entrepreneurial-related training, business management orientation, business capital, and micro-insurance.

Participants who wish to join the program will be trained in various skillsets as they enter businesses related to food, mechanical and others. Each participant will receive an amount of P30,000 as one of the benefits.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the program can help workers in the transport sector earn an extra income, while providing service to the commuting public.

Nakapakalaking bagay para sa mga naghahanap-buhay sa pampublikong sasakyan na magkaroon ng karagdagang kaalaman upang mapabuti ang kanilang serbisyo, o hindi kaya ay magkaroon sila ng kakayahan sa pagnenegosyo at para sa iba pang pagkakakitaan para makabangon sa gitna ng pandemya (It is a big deal for transport workers to have additional knowledge to improve their service or have the capability to start a business as an alternative livelihood amid the pandemic),” he said. AAC

 

Nasa 3 milyong manggagawa, posibleng hindi makatanggap ng 13th month pay — employer group

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Posibleng umabot sa tatlong milyong manggagawa mula sa formal sector ang nanganganib na hindi makatanggap ng 13th month pay ngayong taon.

Ayon sa presidente ng Employer Confederation of the Philippines na si Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., marami sa mga maliliit na negosyo ang patuloy na nahihirapan sa gitna ng pandemya.

“Kalahati ng micro nagsara na, wala namang 13th month pay kung nagsara na. Ang natitirang kalahati ang nanganganib na hindi makapagbigay,” ani Ortiz-Luis.

Kinausap na aniya nila ang Department of Labor and Employment at Department of Trade and Industry ukol sa problema na ito.

Ayon kay Ortiz-Luis, naghahanap na ng paraan si DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez para magkaroon ng pondo at maipautang sa mga maliliit na negosyo para may maipambayad sa kanilang mga manggagawa sa katapusan ng taon.

“At mukhang malaking tiyansa na makagawa ng facility para yung mga walang pambayad — gustong magbayad ng 13th month pay— makautang sila na, hopefully, walang interest. At least one year to pay.  Iyon sana gusto kong mangyari,” dagdag pa niya.

May natatanggap na ring reklamo mula sa mga manggagawa ang Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines o ALU-TUCP ukol sa isyu ng pagbibigay ng 13th month pay.

“Nagpa-abot na ng notice sa amin dahil sinasabihan daw sila ng kanilang mga supervisor na nagpaparinig sa kanila at sinasabi na baka hindi sila mabigyan ng 13th month pay this year dahil nga hirap na hirap ang kumpanya na maka-recover,” ayon sa tagapagsalita ng ALU-TUCP na si Alan Tanjusay.

Ani Tanjusay, maaari namang mag-usap ang employer at employee para sa installment ng benepisyo kung wala talagang maipambabayad ang mga kumpanya.

“Magkasundo sila kung paano yung installment, hanggang kailan yung installment, ilang installment babayaran yung 13th month pay,” dagdag pa ni Tanjusay.

Isinusulong din ng grupo na magkaroon ng pautang ang pamahalaan sa mga negosyante para mapunan ang pagbabayad ng 13th month pay na mandato ng kumpanya sa ilalim ng umiiral na batas. —/mbmf (mula sa ulat ni UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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