Saturday, September 24, 2005

Ecop bucks Labor Code amendments

By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos, Manila Standard

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines has strongly opposed a bill in Congress that seeks to prevent the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes or strikes where national interest is at stake.

ECOP president Rene Soriano said a repeal of Article 263 (g) of the Labor Code as embodied in House Bill 3723 filed by Rep. Crispin Beltran and other party list representatives, is uncalled for, noting that the provision is “vital to economic and social stability and to life, personal safety and health.”

Soriano said neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which have achieved high levels of sustained growth and development way ahead of the Philippines, have laws that curtail strikes when they threaten to harm the economy or stability of the country.

The proposed repeal of the particular provision would also bar the secretary of DoLE to certify any dispute to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for compulsory arbitration.

Soriano said even the United States, which is the epitome of free-market capitalism and has consistently ranked as the most competitive economy in the world, granted President George W. Bush the power to intervene in a number of labor disputes based upon a determination that a strike or lockout in such cases would harm the economy.

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