MANILA, Philippines – Hanjin labor group leaders are now seeking the help of the office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), appealing to the Labor chief to ensure that the company will make good in its legally-binding obligations like separation pay and other benefits.
Other demands include that they be given priority once the company reopens with the new management and that the employment bond which is 3% of their salaries be given back.
“Ang problema na lang kasi mayroon yung separation pay na one month for every year of service, meron one half month for every year of service kapag ang ground ng termination ay bankruptcy or closure or rehabilitation. Iyon ang pagaaralan din namin na baka sakaling paki-usapan ang Hanjin,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
The labor chief assures the more than 3,800 employees of his support.
An emergency employment program will be arranged after February 15, to somehow compensate the families of the affected workers while they are in between jobs.
The Labor chief also said that they will speak to the officials of the Pag-ibig Home Development Fund for consideration of moratorium on mortgage payment.
On Wednesday (January 29), DOLE is also scheduled to meet with other concerned department heads and other agencies to strategize an employment program in different government projects to hire the 3,800 plus skilled workers.
“Opo. Nabawasan po kasi, unang-una po iyong talagang mawawalan po kami ng trabaho iyon po ang hindi namin mai-a-alis sa amin. (Ang) anak po naming, magulang po namin (ay) umaasa sa amin,” explained Efren Vinluan, president of the Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Hanjin.
But Hanjin workers like Matcho Son Raya, do not believe that Hanjin Philippines is bankrupt.
Raya has been working as a welder at the South Korean company for 10 years now.
In a decade of working with other skilled workers at Hanjin, they have created 120 vessels for the company.
“Tulad nga po ng ginawa nila noong una, retrenchment, voluntary retrenchment program na hindi na po naibalik yung 3% na kinakaltas po sa amin. Kasi sabi nila pag nag-resign ka, wala ka na. Kaya dahil sa pananakot nila, napilitan ang manggagawa (ang) aming mga kasama na mag-resign na lang dahil daw sa wala silang makukuha,” Raya noted.
Raya said they are worried about their work tenure and life security now that Hanjin has declared bankruptcy and only has until February 15 to operate.
Hanjin Subic shipyard has attained its stature as the 4th largest state shipbuilding facility in Asia. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)