MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment must look into persistent reports of underpayment and lack of benefits particularly in the private sector, the Senate ordered on Monday.
Senator Raffy Tulfo likewise pushed for transparency in labor disputes and strict monitoring of labor conditions, with some workers reportedly still receiving salaries below the minimum wage.
At the organizational meeting of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, Tulfo said he has received complaints of workers receiving daily wages of PHP250, instead of the minimum of P570, in the National Capital Region.
“Hanapin nyo po ang mga tao na hindi makakatanggap ng maayos na sweldo. Karamihan sa mga factory, patahian, construction. PHP570 po ang minimum wage natin pero PHP250 po ang sahod nila. Sana ma-achieve natin. Hindi po ito imposible (We have to look for workers who are still receiving PHP250, instead of PHP570. They can be found in factories, sewing companies, construction sites. I hope we can achieve this. It is not impossible” Tulfo told DOLE Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma.
Other perennial labor problems are lack of benefits, hazardous working conditions, no 13th-month pay, and non-remittance of Social Security System contribution, Tulfo said.
He likewise urged DOLE to conduct more transparent negotiations in dealing with labor disputes, noting that it is a common practice for labor arbiters, company representatives, and complainants to meet behind closed-doors, thus making it impossible for the laborer to assert his or her rights.
“Ang nangyayari po kasi, sasabihin ng labor arbiter sa complainant na tanggapin na lang ang alok, kasi walang transparency (What happens is the labor arbiter will force the complainant to accept the offer of the company, because it is not transparent),” Tulfo noted.
He suggested that DOLE instructs companies to post notices, such as wages, working conditions, overtime computations, holiday pay, and other basic information, so as not to dupe the workers, especially those coming from the provinces.
Tulfo advised Gerardo Nograles, the Administrator of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), to rid the agency of fixers and lazy sheriffs who cause delays in solving cases.
Nograles, who has been with the NLRC for 16 years, said he has already initiated reforms to remove fixers and for the sheriffs to shorten labor cases. (PNA)