THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has slapped a P7.8 million fine against Kentex Manufacturing Corp., owner of the factory that was razed in Valenzuela City.
The amount represents the underpaid wages of 99 workers deployed by the company’s unlicensed sub-contractor, the CJC Manpower Services.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz issued the order following the issuance by the DOLE Regional Office No. 3 of a cease and desist order against CJC Manpower for engaging in “labor-only” subcontracting in violation of the Labor Code of the Philippines.
“A compliance order will be issued against Kentex and CJC Manpower Services directing them to pay the amount due the workers under the Labor Code, as amended, and other labor laws. Kentex will shoulder the liabilities as the direct employer, CJC Manpower Services,” Baldoz said.
Section 106 of the Labor Code states: “There is ‘labor-only’ contracting where the person supplying workers to an employer does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others, and the workers recruited and placed by such person are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of such employer.”
According to Baldoz, the P7.8 million was only an initial computation and does not include other monetary benefits such as overtime pay, night shift differential, 13th month pay, holiday pay, vacation and leave pay, refund of cash bond and other emoluments, including social security benefits.
“It also does not include the amount due the workers of Kentex itself, which will be the subject of another compliance order to be issued by DOLE National Capital Region Director Alex Avila,” she explained.
“And since the establishment is unionized and has a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) until 2017, union members are entitled to death benefits equivalent to 15 days of salary times the number of years in the service, as well as other benefits stipulated in the CBA,” she added.
According to Baldoz, the officers and owners of Kentex and CJC Services may be held criminally liable for their failure to pay any of the prescribed wage increases.
But the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said the DOLE’s order was too late to save the 72 workers who perished in the fire.
BMP secretary-general Gie Relova said 133 lives have been lost to occupational health and safety violations since Baldoz was appointed DOLE chief in 2010.
“If only they did their job in the first place and if Baldoz did not issue department orders that were meant to circumvent labor and occupational safety laws there would not have been a Kentex tragedy to begin with,” she said.