DAVAO CITY – Companies comply more to labor standards if workers are unionized, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.

Atty. Joffrey Suyao, regional director of DOLE XI, said that among the most compliant are companies in the education sector and large companies whose workers are unionized.

“(In companies where workers are unionized) the employees’ organization has an active role in ensuring that their employers comply (with labor standards),” said Suyao.

Suyao said their data last year show 4, 596 companies in the Davao Region have “mixed compliance” to labor standards.

“It would appear that there is a higher compliance rate, 75-80%, of the general labor standard compared to the compliance to occupational safety and health standards,” he said.

“Because in the past we only concentrated in the general labor standards (such as) holiday pay, overtime, minimum wage (which are) usually monetary benefits, but we neglected to look at occupational safety and health standards.”

Joel Maglungsod, former Representative of Anakpawis partylist, said that more than 60% of companies violate labor standards, based on their research nationwide.

“Workers having a union do not guarantee the capitalist’s compliance with labor standards,” he said “but at least the union can raise these violations of labor standards and their other concern.”

“In fact some of the unions were formed because of these violations,” he said.

Maglungsod said “it is the job of the Dole that all workers, regardless of their status — whether they are regular, casual or contractual, must have a union or organization as guaranteed by the 1987 (Philippine) Constitution and all the wages and benefits.”

“That is our challenge to Dole, to ensure that all workers are given their guaranteed right to a union, association or organization. It is guaranteed not only by the Constitution but by international labor conventions where our country is a signatory to,” he said.

Maglungsod said that less than ten percent or only three million workers in the country are unionized and 200,000 to 300,000 of them have collective bargaining agreements with their employers.

Maglungsod, who is also the Mindanao Vice-President of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) said that militant unions “negotiate over and above the standards, negotiate over and above minimum wage.”

He said that they have been campaigning for a “National Minimum Wage” of P16,000.

Maglungsod said that P16,000 “is just half of the family living wage which is P1,838 per worker daily.”

He said that “capitalists can afford to give it to workers without raising the inflation like the government always says when wages are increased.”

“In 2014, the net profit of companies who have 20 or more employees is about P1.5 trillion but if such minimum wage will be set, only P300 billion is needed, so capitalist will still have roughly P1.2 trillion for profit,” he added.(davaotoday.com)

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