Hontiveros asks gov’t to check retrenchment of 500 Dolefil workers

Senator Risa Hontiveros said Friday the Labor Department should look into the mass retrenchment of almost 500 regular workers of canned pineapple producer and exporter Dole Philippines Inc. (Dolefil) this year.

Hontiveros sent a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III noting that Dolefil did not suffer a major loss in profit in previous years to justify the retrenchment amid the pandemic.

She noted that the Annual Audited Financial Statement of Dolefil contradicts the company’s claims that it was in a crisis when it issued termination notification to its workers in September.

The also questioned why such notice was issued on September 18, three days after the employees’ actual termination.

Hontiveros believes that the mass retrenchment was done in “bad faith” as it appears that regular employees had been terminated instead of the contractual workers.

“Nakakaalarma rin na sa kabila ng pagreregular nila sa nasa 5,000 employees noong 2018 bilang suporta sa kampanya ng gobyerno laban sa endo, nagpatuloy pa rin silang mag-hire ng contractual workers. This clearly belied the basis given for the retrenchment of its regular workers,” she said in a statement.

Also read: Inflation rate spikes to 3.3% in November

Hontiveros asks gov’t to check retrenchment of 500 Dolefil workers

Hontiveros asked Bello to mediate between the retrenched employees and Dolefil to check if the layoffs comply with labor laws. She also asked the labor department to help the workers and Dolefil “arrive at a pragmatic, mutually-acceptable solution to what might turn out to be a serious labor dispute.”

“Ngayong maraming negosyo ang naapektuhan ng economic recession, huwag nating hayaang masangkalan ang kapakanan ng mga manggagawa. At the end of the day, workers’ welfare and rights should come first. They should always be our top priority,” she said.

Meanwhile, unemployment decreased further in October to 3.3 million from a record-high 7.2 million last April as the economy slowly recovers from the crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa reported Thursday that the  rate of 8.7% was recorded in October. This is equivalent to 3.8 million adult Filipinos without jobs or a source of income during the period.