Estrada wants waste management firm probed for ‘unethical practice’

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has filed a resolution pushing for an inquiry in aid of legislation into the alleged “unethical practice” of the International Solid Waste Integrated Management Specialist Inc. (I-SWIMS) of not giving garbage collectors sufficient benefits.

Estrada, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said I-SWIMS’ actions were a clear violation of existing labor laws.

“The situation of the I-SWIMS garbage collectors is worrying, and if there are similar companies, their alleged violation of the labor law should be investigated to ensure that workers are not exploited. It is the right of workers to be given fair treatment and to be given the protection and benefits mandated by law,” Estrada in a separate statement after filing his proposed Senate Resolution No. 914.

He said more than 70 garbage collectors had reached out to his office and testified that, despite years of working in I-SWIMS, they were only considered as volunteers.

“According to the garbage collectors, they only receive P250 to P300 per day, or less than the set rate of P573 to P610 for workers in Metro Manila,” said Estrada.

Apart from these, the company also provides zero overtime pay and night shift differential for its employees.

The garbage collectors also testified that they were receiving no benefits such as those covered by the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Home Development Mutual Fund (PagIBIG Fund).

“According to them, some garbage collectors have died from diseases like leptospirosis, and the company does not provide any assistance for injury, illness, or death,” Estrada said in Filipino.

Estrada said this was a blatant disregard for the rights of employees, adding that it is an attempt to avoid compliance with laws, particularly the Labor Code.