Gov’t dared: Penalize 13th month pay offenders

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno dared the Aquino government today to go beyond reminding employers of their responsibility to give workers the 13th month pay and to issue a categorical statement that it will punish employers who will not give workers the said allowance.

KMU was reacting to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement reminding employers to grant their workers the 13th month pay and saying that failure to do so is punishable under the law.

“Reminding employers to issue the 13th month pay has become a yearly ritual for the government. Still, many capitalists observe the yearly ritual of refusing to give their workers the allowance,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Talk is cheap, especially for a government that is very active in doing propaganda work. We dare Pres. Aquino to categorically say that his government will punish capitalists who will not give workers a 13th month pay,” he added.

“We do not believe that the Labor Department will monitor capitalists who refuse to give a 13th month pay and penalize them. It has substantially reduced its capacity to monitor workplaces for violations of workers’ rights and it has always favored capitalists,” he said.

The labor center called on the country’s workers to report to its national office cases of employers’ refusal to grant the 13th month pay, vowing to name and shame the offending employers and to help employees seek legal redress.

“Workers need their 13th month pay, especially amidst the decreasing value of their wages and the Aquino government’s refusal to hike wages by a significant amount. Their 13th month pay comes from their hard work and is a much-needed though short-term relief from the soaring prices of goods and services,” he said.

“We are calling on the country’s workers to report to the KMU national office employers who decline to give the 13thmonth pay. After conducting an investigation, we will name and shame employers who will not give their workers the allowance,” Labog said.

“We will also help workers file charges against their employers on this issue. We call on the country’s workers to challenge the impunity being enjoyed by capitalists violating workers’ rights,” he added.

The labor center also called on workers to report to its national office capitalists who have backlogs in implementing wage orders, deduct SSS payments from workers but fail to remit these, and violate basic labor laws.

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