by Vito Barcelo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb 14, 2019
The Department of Labor and Employment advised employees of Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. not to sign “voluntary resignation” papers for it would strip them of their rightful benefits.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the call after the department received reports that some Hanjin workers were being forced to resign.
The South Korean shipbuilder, the world’s seventh largest shipping company, filed for bankruptcy last month after it suffered liquidity problems to repay its debts of over $400 million to Philippine top banks and another $900 million to South Korean lenders.
More than 3,800 Filipino workers are affected by the Subic base shipping company’s impending closure.
DOLE Director Dominique Tutay said the agency was verifying reports that Hanjin workers are being forced to sign resignation papers by the management the shipbuilder.
“I told them not to agree to resign because once they resigned, they’re not entitled to separation pay. If that was true, then that’s illegal. They shouldn’t agree to that. That’s an excuse,” Tutay said over a radio interview.
DOLE said more than 3,000 workers are still employed as of January 15, but only under reduced working days within the first quarter of 2019 to finish two more ships in Hanjin.
They are employed by 17 contractors who will apply for retrenchment after their contracts with Hanjin is terminated. Hanjin reportedly had laid off 7,000 workers in December 2018.