Proper inspection could have prevented Cebu construction workers’ deaths

Published by reposted only Date posted on April 15, 2010

PRESS RELEASE

HON. RAYMOND DEMOCRITO C. MENDOZA        April 12, 2010
Trade Union Congress Party-List (TUCP)
TUCP-PGEA Compound, Maharlika cor. Masaya Streets, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel/Fax: (632) 351-3757/924-7551

TUCP Party-List: Proper inspection could have prevented Cebu construction workers’ deaths

The TUCP Party-List # 178, the largest worker’s party in the Philippines, lamented the deaths of five construction workers in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, on 7 April 2010. The workers died when the firewall on one side of the building they were working on collapsed to the ground.

From newspapers reports, TUCP has recorded 41 deaths, 6 injuries in 20 workplace incidents in January – March 2010. Eleven of those killed were in involved in 4 construction accidents.

“If the construction sites were inspected properly, compliance with safety and health standards and untoward accidents and deaths in workplaces could have been prevented. Unsafe work processes and preventive measures should have been identified by inspectors,” stressed TUCP Rep. Raymond D.C. Mendoza.

“Was the construction site in Barangay Tisa inspected? What were found during the inspection?” Rep. Mendoza asked. “We would like to see a copy of the inspection report, considering that workers had no hard hats and no other safety measures were in place when the accident happened,” Rep. Mendoza added.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) can order work stoppage in case of violations of labor standards or unsafe work processes during inspection to prevent accidents or deaths. Work must not resume until violations are rectified and workers are safe to perform their jobs.

“The Labor Standards Enforcement Framework (LSEF), through self-assessment (SA) or through proper inspections, could have exposed faulty health and safety practices,” Rep. Mendoza said.

Under the LSEF, the company, CYC Construction, should have conducted self-inspection with the participation of workers. Workers can identify hazards in their workplaces and they can suggest improvements to avoid or minimize such hazards. The DOLE should have the results of the self-inspection every year and during the first quarter of the year.

“There are many instruments to verify compliance with labor standards and ensure workers’ safety. The problem lies with how well these instruments are used,” Rep. Mendoza said.

The TUCP also filed a petition for P100 across-the-board wage increase for workers in Region VII.

“Wage increase for private sector employees in Region VII is urgent in the midst of skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services” declared TUCP Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

“Power and water utilities and oil firms are also planning to increase their charges and that would further erode the purchasing power of worker’s salary”, Mendoza added.
Consumer prices in Region VII rose by 7% from June 2008 to January 2010 and are expected to rise further by 9% within the period from January to December 2010.

“If wages will remain stagnant, then more workers will certainly slide to poverty and those who are in the middle class will become the newly poor” Mendoza explained.

Mendoza emphasized that “workers have largely contributed to the growth of the regional economy and therefore deserve to have a modest share of the fruits of economic development”.

“The quality of life of workers must improve as the economy grows. That is the real meaning of equitable development”, said Mendoza.

TUCP Party-List is also advocating for the revision and amendment of RA 6727 which created the regional wage boards and the system of regional determination and fixing of minimum wages.

“Regional wage boards must really be pro-active in favor of workers so that our working people will not be left behind” asserted Mendoza.

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