The Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) has ordered various firms in Metro Manila to pay 1,007 workers P46.2 million in awards and settlements as the office disposed of 325 labor standards cases enrolled under Phase 2 of the Project: Speedy and Expeditious Delivery of Labor Cases (SpEED 2).
Project SPEED is a DOLE-initiated reform measure aimed at disposing expeditiously and efficiently all labor cases pending as of April 30, 2009 by April 2011.
The reform is in support of the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III of institutionalizing fast-working and efficient labor arbitration and adjudication system that ensures quality decisions, eliminates red tape, and restores integrity and fairness in the service.
The DOLE award of benefits to the 1,007 workers covers orders of payment to correct violations on general labor standards (GLS) and occupational health and safety standards (OSHS) filed from May 2009 up to March 2010.
Most of the violations included underpayment of wages, unpaid SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig contributions; non-payment of holiday pay, overtime pay, ECOLA; and denial of access to workers’ and employees’ records.
The OSHS violations included non-registration under Rule 1020, non-submission of first aide certificate, non-organization of plant-level safety committees, and non-filing of annual medical and accident reports.
The disposition accounts to 83.97 percent out of the 387 cases enrolled under SPEED 2, leaving the DOLE-NCR with only 62 pending cases to be disposed of until September 30, 2010.
“We are confident of hitting our target. Our intention is to keep our dockets current. It does not mean though that we will no longer have case backlogs, but we are working double-time to dispose cases expeditiously and efficiently,” said DOLE-NCR regional director Raymundo G. Agravante.
To prevent cases from maturing into labor standard cases, the DOLE-NCR had also institutionalized the 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation of all labor and employment cases, another DOLE-initiated reform measure, as a means of settling issues or concerns between management and labor at the DOLE-level.
“We want these workers to enjoy what is due them under the law. Life is hard nowadays and our workers deserve to receive the just compensation accorded them by law,” Agravante explained.
He added: “It is a sight to behold both workers and management leaving the regional office after they have arrived at win-win solutions that work for both. It makes our work as civil servants fulfilling.”
Assistant regional director Joffrey M. Suyao, together with labor relations and labor standards division officer-in-charge Pelagio M. Laurente, is at the helm in the implementation of Project SpeED 2 in the DOLE-NCR. With him are six senior labor and employment officers assigned to review cases under Project SPEED.