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Makabayan bloc files bill seeking to protect rights of all workers orgs, unions

The Makabayan bloc filed a bill aiming to protect the rights of all workers, workers' organizations, and unions from interference by their employers, public authorities, and agents.

The six-member bloc on Sunday filed House Bill 10201 or the "Union Independence Act of 2021" to protect all workers and worker’s organizations from interference, intimidation, harassment, attack, or coercion in violation of their right to self-organization and association.

"It is the primary responsibility of the State to protect and uphold the rights of all workers and promote their welfare, including their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with the law," they said.

"It is also the policy of the State that any violation thereof is not only a violation of the civil rights of all workers but also a criminal offense against the State," they added.

Under the proposed law, any person who shall willfully interfere with, restrain, harass or coerce any worker or workers' association or union in the exercise of their rights to self-organization, or shall in any manner commit any act in violation of the provisions of the bill, and such acts or commissions not otherwise under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and Employment and its appropriate agencies pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and Executive Order 180 shall be liable under this measure.

According to the bloc, it shall be unlawful for any person to commit any of the following acts of interference, intervention, or intrusion:

  • to require, force, or coerce a worker to not join a workers' organization or union, or to relinquish or renounce membership therein;
  • to require, force, or coerce a workers' organization or union to relinquish or renounce its affiliation or membership to any workers' federation or national union;
  • to require, force or coerce any worker to not join a workers' organization or union, or to relinquish or renounce membership therein to be able to access any government service, aid, or program;
  • to discriminate a worker in any commercial establishment or business, in order to discourage membership in any workers' organization or union;
  • to prevent a worker from carrying out duties laid upon them by their position in the organization or union, or to penalize them for the action undertaken in such capacity;
  • to interfere, impede, obstruct, or hinder in the establishment, functioning, or administration of workers' organizations or unions;
  • to vilify, label, brand, red-tag, name or accuse a worker or workers' organization or union as subversives or terrorists;
  • to otherwise interfere, impede, obstruct, or hinder, without authority under the law, any lawful and peaceful activities of the workers and workers' organizations or unions.

Any person who will violate the actions shall be punished by a fine not less than P100,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than two years, or both at the discretion of the court.

If the offender is a public official, the court, in addition to the penalties, may impose the additional penalties of disqualification from any appointive or elective position, and forfeiture of all benefits. — DVM, GMA News