- Posted July 22, 2014 by
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Protection of Filipino workers sought
A PHILIPPINE lawmaker on Tuesday said he is seeking the enactment of a "Workers' Protection Act" that will ensure the rights of workers are protected and their rightful benefits are afforded them in cases of company closures or cessation of operations of establishments.
Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque City said his proposal embodied in House Bill 4338 aims to protect the rights and promote the welfare of workers who serve as partners in the production of wealth and income of companies.
He said as incidence of poverty increases in the country, so does the problem of inequality. Thus, he said workers in times of economic depression should be protected.
"Company closures and cessation of business activities are inevitable. Various factors affect the business cycle and business productivity, hence, workers in most inopportune times of economic recession are caught in the web of unemployment. The loss of business is tantamount to loss of employment," said Tambunting.
Citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment’s Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (DOLE-BLES), Tambunting said in 2011 a total of 2,211 companies shutdown, displacing 35,526 workers nationwide. In 2012, 1,925 companies closed shop, displacing 31,778 workers.
Then in 2013, the lawmaker said a total of 1,925 commercial establishments filed Notice of Closures affecting 17,144 workers.
"Employers cited downsizing as main reason for the retrenchment and closures while financial losses and lack of market are factors that caused the establishments to lay off or close shop which led to underemployment of nearly 13,000 workers," said Tambunting.
Tambunting, a vice chairman of the committee on trade and industry, said HB 4333 or the proposed "Workers' Protection Act of 2014" aims to protect workers and their families and is an affirmation of the State policy of labor as a primary social economic force.
The bill provides it is the declared policy of the State to protect workers from economic insecurity due to involuntary unemployment and promote the workers' rights in such eventuality.
The bill also provides that an employer shall not order a plant closure, mass layoff or any form of cessation of operations until the end of a 90-day period after the employer serves a written notice of such closure. During the 90-day notice period, an employer shall allow the affected employees to use a specific amount of paid work time to seek alternative employment.