Friday, June 14, 2024

Bacolod: Vax policies scored as anti-labor

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Bacolod City – Government pronouncements on vaccination are causing confusion to labor and management, GAWA secretary general Wennie Sancho said.

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The situation under the pandemic has drastically reduced the real wage of workers, he said.

Sancho said the purchasing power of the peso in Western Visayas is ₱ 0.76. A worker is losing ₱ 94.80 per day or about ₱ 2,464.80 per month. His ₱ 395 per day minimum was reduced to ₱ 300.20 per day in terms of real wage according to statistics of the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Regional Wage Board in Western Visayas.

Thousands of workers have not yet returned to their work due to the massive closures of business establishments, he said.

While the economy is about to scale up with the lifting of some restrictions, the situation is adversely affected by the confusing and contradictory pronouncements of government officials and agencies on the issue of COVID vaccination, Sancho said.

Despite the absence of an enabling law, COVID-19 vaccination has become mandatory.  Work options for unvaccinated workers are now up to employers according to the Department of Labor and Employment, he said.

This will lead to abuse of the so-called management prerogatives, he added.

Sancho said this is discriminatory and could be used as a mechanism for oppression by some unscrupulous managements who are taking advantage of the situation by exploiting workers.

The scarcity of work had forced most workers to accept inhumane working conditions and starvation wages just to keep their heads above water, he said.

Unvaccinated workers had to use up their leave credits, after that, they will be on a “no-work-no-pay” status, a euphemism for unemployed workers, Sancho said.

It is unfortunate that with the decrease in COVID-19 infection, the workers’ constitutional rights to security of tenure, humane conditions of work and living wage are under attack. So, who will now protect labor? He asked.

Sancho said the most avowed declaration in Art. XIII Sec. 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that “The State shall afford full protection to labor,” has become meaningless. It is nothing but a mere statement of principles that could not protect the rights and welfare of the workers in the midst of pandemic.

“Our government officials and political leaders should be more circumspect in looking into the plight of the workers who were not given any wage increase for almost two years,” he said.

Moreover, the pandemic issue should not be used as a political platform by politicians that would lead to more confusion, Sancho added. (Chrysee Semillano via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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