Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Labor Advisory No. 17, a highly disadvantageous to workers - Nagkaisa

Nagkaisa denounced the Labor Advisory No. 17 that DOLE issued today as a crude instrument for super exploitation.

Ironically called the Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020, or Labor Advisory No 17, includes Section 5 that allows employers and employees to “agree voluntarily and in writing to temporarily adjust employees’ wage and wage-related benefits.”

Nagkaisa believes that this proposition is highly disadvantageous to workers. Coming from a long ECQ, workers, especially those who are unorganized, may have no option except to follow the wishes of their employers. Many unscrupulous employers would simply threaten workers with dismissals or company closures if they don’t “voluntarily” agree to rollback their wages and other wage-related benefits.

And from the looks of it, it would be difficult to reinstate the previous wage levels enjoyed by workers as the same offensive Section 5 allows employers to “review their agreement and may renew the same” after six months.

This is the latest example of DOLE’s growing pattern of disregard worker’s welfare!

First, they failed to provide aid to all workers affected by the pandemic. After forcing workers to go hungry, they asked workers to report for work even if there is no public transportation. Then they reneged on their initial commitment to provide mass testing for all workers.

Now, DOLE is giving employers a blank check to roll back the gains made by the unions and even pay their workers starvation wages! The state must never allow itself to become a party to employers' latest trick to shortchange their workers.

This pattern of risking the lives of workers and sacrificing them for profits is not the “new normal” we want.

NAGKAISA calls on Secretary Bello to immediately rescind the Labor Advisory. Rather than ask workers to pay for the economic recovery of their employers, DOLE should ensure that workers’ welfare are properly considered in the stimulus package that government is now preparing.

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