Kentex, subcontractor owe workers at least P7.8-M in underpaid wages - DOLE


Posted at May 24 2015 01:04 AM | Updated as of May 24 2015 09:30 AM

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Kentex Manufacturing Corp., the owner of the Valenzuela slippers factory which caught fire, and its subcontractor, owe 99 of their workers P7.8 million in underpaid wages.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Regional Director Ana P. Dione could next week order the two firms to pay the P7.8 million in underpaid wages.

Baldoz issued the statement after the department issued a cease-and-desist order against Kentex's subcontractor, CJC Manpower Services, for supposedly violating labor laws, one of which is its operation as a fly-by-night company.

"A compliance order will be issued against Kentex and CJC Manpower Services directing them to pay the amount due the workers under the Labor Code, as amended, and other labor laws. Kentex will shoulder the liabilities as the direct employer, CJC Manpower Services, being a 'labor-only' contractor," Baldoz said.

Baldoz said the initial P7.8 million in underpaid wages could go up, as this does not include overtime pay, night shift differential, 13th month pay, holiday pay, vacation and leave pay, refund of cash bond, and other emoluments, including social security benefits.

"It also does not include the amount due the workers of Kentex itself, which will be the subject of another compliance order to be issued by DOLE National Capital Region Director Alex Avila," Baldoz said.

"And since the establishment is unionized and has a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) until 2017, union members are entitled death benefits equivalent to 15 days of salary times the number of years in the service, as well as other benefits stipulated in the CBA," she added.

Baldoz said the officers and owners of Kentex and CJC may be held criminally liable for failing to pay any of the prescribed increases or adjustments in the wage rates.

She said if found guilty, the officers and owners could be fined with P25,000 to P100,000, be imprisoned for two to four years, or both, at the discretion of the court.

The officers and owners could be also be charged for withholding wages. The penalty for this is a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000, or imprisonment of not less than three months nor more than three years, or both.

Baldoz said Kentex officers could also be held liable for violating occupational safety and health standards.