Kentex Manufacturing Corp. violated labor standards, including hiring an illegal sub-contractor, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Tuesday disclosed that aside from being unregistered with the deparment, CJC Manpower Services (CJC), a sub-contractor of Kentex, was not also paying correct wages and benefits of its workers, and was not remitting social security of its workers to the Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth and Pag-IBIG Fund.
“This [finding]corroborates the result of the joint assessment by the DOLE Regional Office No.3 of CJC Manpower Services,” she said.
Based on the report of the regional office, CJC’s workers at Kentex were only paid P202.50 per day.
Other violations committed by the sub-contractor include non-payment of 13th month pay for 2014; non-payment of holiday pay and special holiday premium; illegal deduction for cash bond; and non-membership of workers and irregular or almost non-remittance of premiums to SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG Fund, despite deductions on pay for these social security contributions.
It was found that CJC’s last remittance to the SSS was on April 8, 2015 for January 2015 premiums covering only 19 workers, none of whom was employed at Kentex.
“Its last Pag-Ibig remittance was on 6 May 2015 for February 2015 contributions covering a mere 13 workers, only four of whom were deployed at Kentex. On the other hand, it last remitted PhilHealth premiums on 25 March 2015 for February 2015 premiums unbelievably covering six workers, only three of whom were deployed at the rubber slipper factory,” Baldoz said, referring to Kentex, which was making footwear until a fire gutted it last week, killing at least 70 workers.
The DOLE, she added, would focus its second mandatory conference on occupational safety and health standards because no representatives from Kentex attended the first mandatory conference.
“Kentex Manufacturing Corp. did not attend the conference, despite receiving the official notice, as records of the DOLE NCR [National Capital Region or Metro Manila] would show. So the second conference is on Wednesday. If the company fails to attend, then, it will be construed that it has waived its right to be heard,” Baldoz said.
Also during the first conference, she noted, the DOLE established that CJC Manpower Services has four other principals to where it has deployed 23 more workers for various positions.
Kentex faces possible liabilities, such as administrative liability, specifically, solidary liability with the contractor or sub-contractor (CJC) for any violation of any provision of the Labor Code; criminal liability, specifically, reckless imprudence resulting in multiple injury and multiple homicide; violation of the Fire Code; violation of the National Building Code; arson (if it is established that the factory owner/s started the fire); and criminal liability, under Article 288 of the Labor Code for possible violation of labor standards, occupational safety and health standards and social legislations.
The company could also face civil liability, specifically actual damages (medical expenses, etc.), moral damages and exemplary damages.
The DOLE is focusing its probe on labor standards and occupational safety and health aspects of the fire last May 13 so as not to duplicate parallel investigations by relevant government agencies.
Baldoz also disclosed that she has initiated efforts to amend the 40-year-old Labor Code of the Philippines but pointed out that she needs the support of both Houses of Congress.
“Across administrations over a span of forty years since it was approved by executive fiat, the Labor Code of the Philippines has not been subjected to revision, except by piecemeal amendments. There were attempts to introduce omnibus amendments, but the process was long and difficult, hence impractical,” she said.
According to the Labor chief, she had created a Tripartite Labor Code Reform Committee in 2011 through Administrative Order 375, which set out to review documents from earlier initiatives, along with development plans, including the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan, 2011-2016.