(for immediate release)
10 February 2017
FMR. EXEC. SECRETARY RUBEN D. TORRES
President, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
Contact Number: (+63) 908.851.3320
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) expressed condolences to the affected workers and families in the fire that erupted in Housing Technology Industries on Wednesday.
“TUCP weeps with the families of the helpless workers who died and got injured in the horrific HTI fire,” said TUCP President Ruben Torres.
“We’ve said it before and we say it again. It is senseless. Accidents such as the HTI fire could be prevented or mitigated if proper safety precautions and practices are mindfully put in place through regular inspection,” said Torres.
“Workers’ deaths continue! Our authorities must do better, faster, and with more efficiency. Workers’ deaths and injuries due to timidity and inadequate actions are repulsive. Wanton awarding of labor and OSH standards compliance certificates for public relations is totally unacceptable, said Torres.
A TUCP compilation of media reports show that 12 workers were killed and 118 workers were injured in 4 serious workplace incidents in the Philippines in January to February 2017; lower than the 66 workers reportedly killed and 122 injured in 47 serious workplace incidents between January-December 2016. Excluding the horrific 74 deaths toll from the Kentex slippers factory fire, deaths were almost at the same level in 2015 and 2016. Some 143 workers were killed and 86 workers were injured in 43 serious workplace incidents in 2015. Most of deaths in 2016 were in mining (27) and construction (21), almost 75% of all workplace deaths. There were 28 deaths in mining and 26 deaths in construction in 2015.
TUCP has requested its affiliates to pro-actively investigate and report workplace dangers, hazards, and risks to avoid horrid accidents at the workplace.
“When workplace accidents happen, our union members and workers are the most affected. We are holding blitz training on safety and health to equip unions in addressing and implementing safety and health at the workplace,” said Torres.
TUCP called on DOLE to hold random and blitz labor inspection, particularly in high-risk establishments, certified compliant or not. It also called on tripartite discussions towards progressive ratification of ILO conventions on labor inspection. –xxx–