IT’S back to business for more than half of the 88 pyrotechnics and firecrackers establishments in Bulacan province that were covered by a nationwide work stoppage order (WSO) issued on November 25 by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) over a series of accidents that left five people dead and 30 others injured.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd disclosed on Thursday that he ordered the WSO on 48 establishments lifted because “they were compliant with labor and occupational safety and health standards and other pertinent labor laws, rules and regulations.”
Bello made the announcement at the sidelines of the celebration of DOLE’s 83rd anniversary held at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City.
He said the remaining 40 other establishments were still the subject of an ongoing assessment by DOLE Region 3 in coordination with local government units and other concerned agencies.
Bello added that he is ready to lift the WSO on the remaining firms once the DOLE regional office, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection submit their recommendations that the firecracker makers have complied with occupational and safety requirements.
Of the 88 establishments, 24 are in manufacturing and 64 are in retail/selling of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
Bello said there is a need to institute reforms in the firecrackers and pyrotechnics industry, particularly in manufacturing and retailing.
Organized labor groups earlier took the cudgels for the embattled firecrackers industry, saying the WSO would have a direct impact on livelihood of some 400,000 workers, employers, retailers and allied industry workers because of the seasonality of the job, which is at its peak during the holiday season.
The group warned that stoppage order could lead to proliferation of prohibited and unsafe firecrackers.
Bello clarified though that the WSO mainly mandated the stoppage of work of any unit, department or the entire operation of an establishment when non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards poses imminent danger to the health and safety of the employees in the workplace.