Saturday, May 23, 2020

Labor Group: Reviving the Economy Must Not be at the Expense of the Safety and Lives of Workers!

In its effort to revive the economy, is government now putting the lives and safety of our workers entirely in the hands of their bosses?

NAGKAISA is alarmed over the state’s abdication of its constitutional duty to protect its citizens when it practically admitted that it can’t provide mass testing, relegating in effect that primary responsibility to the private sector.

Now, we see that the government is even preventing the LGUs from requiring employers to test their workers! Further, mass testing as a strategy is made more anemic by the labor department's issuances of labor advisories, specifically LAs 17 and 18, which identified testing and shuttle services a requirement but not mandatory on the side of employers.

These contradictory signals from government officials reinforces the growing public’s impression that this administration is at a loss at how to contain the virus. Rather than provide assurance, our people are now confused, disoriented and frustrated. This is a new disaster in the making compounding the disaster brought about by the pandemic.

And now that the government has come to an agreement we are still in the FIRST wave and have not even abated the spread of infections, why did the government ease the lockdown restrictions and sent our workers back to work without safety nets and mass testing?

The answer is quite obvious: this government’s priority is to save the economy at the risk of putting the working class in danger of being infected with Covid-19!

For NAGKAISA, mass testing is a key component of workers' “BalikTrabahongLigtas" not only to protect him/her but also his/her family society as a whole.

Nagkaisa calls on the government, particularly the implementors of Covid-19 response, to build the state’s capacity to conduct mass testing using RT-PCR.

The coalition also calls on government to involve the public in designing mechanisms for ensuring mass testing. It appears that the government is determined to practice social distancing with people’s organizations.

Now is the time more than ever that government concretize its commitment to ensure a safe and healthful workplace for all working people by affording them full protection against all hazards brought about by this covid 19 pandemic.

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