Updated: July 6, 2021 11:58:32 am
In the age of digital transactions and cheques, a Valenzuela city factory worker in the Philippines was shocked when his employer paid his salary in bags full of coins. As the plight of the labourer gained sympathy online, it caught the attention of the city administration as well who intervened and suspended the business permit of the employer.
Filipino man Russel Mañosa was paid for his work at the NexGreen Enterprise factory centavo coins. Shocked by the insulting behaviour, his cousin posted about the incident on Facebook seeking help from the city authorities and labour unions. Mañosa claimed that the payment was retribution for his complaints about alleged unfair labour practices in the factory, ABS-CBN News reported.
The post got the attention not just of social media, but also mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela City. Calling it a “cruel and unusual” labour practice, the mayor vowed that he would get to the bottom of the issue and “deal with it accordingly.” He not only met the man to hear his woes but also held a meeting moderating a session between his employer and him.
According to CNN Philippines, coins in denomination of 1 centavo, 5 centavos, 10 centavos, and 25 centavos can be used to pay an amount not exceeding P100.00.
“Why did you pay your employee with five and ten cents? That is insulting and that is stripping the worker of dignity,” Gatchalian said in live streaming of the meeting.
According to Vice, the owner, Jasper Cheng So, claimed the employee was paid off in coins by mistake and it was not intended for him. However, the mayor was not convinced. So, later he apologised for the coin payment and said that “regardless of the mistake or what, it’s my command responsibility so I accept anything. I will not contest.”
Gatchalian said NexGreen has a “pattern” of improper treatment of workers and warned its owner that such practices have no place in the city, PhilStar reported. The city found that the company did not pay Mañoza the correct minimum wage, overtime pay, night shift differential and holiday pay, the report added.
After the meeting, the mayor issued a suspension order for the business operations of a factory. Valenzuela Business Permit and Licensing Office served a suspension order against Nexgreen Enterprise for its alleged unfair labour practices and violations. “Nexgreen will be given 15 days to rectify the violations, failure to do so will result in revocation of business permit,” the mayor wrote on his Facebook page updating all.
As the company was being investigated for malpractices, Workers’ Affairs Office representatives also found out that the complainant was not only paid in coins but paid way too little. In an estimate calculated by the administration, Mañoza should have received P55,614.93 for the five months of work he rendered for NexGreen. He had just received P1,056 in coins.
“There can be potentially more ‘Russels’ out there in that company that can be further victimized if we do not suspend the operation. Public welfare comes into play all the time and it is my responsibility to make sure that no one suffers the same fate again,” the mayor said in a statement.
The mayor also met with 13 other employees from the same company to resolve their problems. “They will also be given food packs by the city government and help get the deserved salary from Nexgreen,” the mayor wrote while sharing a few images of his interaction with the workers.
The city administration meanwhile also shared images of how they are helping the man find another job. The mayor also said not just Mañoza, other staff of the company who have been harassed too will be assisted to find a better employer.
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