SBMA, port workers sign industrial peace accord
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Stakeholders and workers in the port industry here have signed a social accord to prevent labor disputes and boost cooperation in making this Freeport the most competitive international service and logistics center in Southeast Asia.
The agreement was signed at a consultative forum organized by the labor department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) last week and attended by some 200 officials and employees from companies providing port-related services here.
Severo Pastor Jr., head of the SBMA Labor Department, said the social accord would guarantee that local port players will be committed to enhancing mutual benefits for employers and their workers.
The forum drew information and feedback from port workers on their most pressing issues and concerns, as well as perceived solutions to help improve working conditions in the port area.
Among the issues raised were the workers’ Social Security System (SSS) contributions; sanitation in the work area; the proper use of occupational safety gadgets; wage increase petitions; and accreditation of workers with the SBMA Labor Center.
Pastor said that there are more than 700 port stevedores and seasonal workers or “yag-yag” currently working for manpower supervisors or “cabo” at this Freeport.
“With the help of the social accord, we will try to resolve work-related issues and problems so that the local port industry shall abide with the rules on labor standards and grievance resolution,” Pastor added.
Meanwhile, SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga, who addressed the forum, challenged participants to do their share in promoting and maintaining harmonious relations in the industry through peaceful dialogues and consultations.
“If we want the Subic Bay Freeport to become a major maritime service and logistics hub, we should help each other in making this place secure, safe and free from any disruptive activities,” Salonga told the audience.
During the forum, officials from SBMA departments on health and safety, law enforcement, and seaport operations discussed various measures on sanitation, safety at work and security that the SBMA requires for implementation.
On the other hand, port workers expressed their concerns and provided recommendations on how to improve working conditions in the area.
Pastor said that with the full support of cargo handlers and the cooperation of stevedores, the SBMA could address all the problems in the port industry at the shortest time possible. By FRANCO G. REGALA, jonas - mb.com.ph