The General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA) strongly supports the nationwide protest of all frontline health workers to manifest their indignation over the long-delayed payment of their special risk allowance (SRA), meal accommodation and transportation allowance (MAT) hazard pay, and other benefits.
GAWA secretary-general Wennie Sancho said amid the struggle against the pandemic the heavy impact of the burden and sacrifices falls mainly on the shoulders of the frontline health workers particularly those who are working in the hospitals.
“Our politicians called them our modern-day heroes in our war against COVID-19 but they are being denied by our government of those benefits that are due for them under the law. This is an added form of injustice to our so-called “heroes,” Sancho said.
Sancho said frontline health workers should be treated with dignity and respect and credit should be given to where it is due.
“The 1987 Philippine Constitution acknowledged the workers as the ‘primary social economic force.’ Labor is the leading creator of wealth in our society,” he pointed out.
He further stated transport, agriculture and nearly all industries and economic activities will grind to a halt without the creative hands of labor.
Sancho said workers are most productive, but like our frontliners, they are the least rewarded. The principle of equal pay for equal work was forgotten.
“Our health workers are the ‘shock absorbers’ in our war against COVID-19, they are on suicide missions, many of them died, infected by the virus. They are underpaid but overworked. Others had resigned, they could no longer bear the pain and sufferings of the frontline health workers. Why does the government deny them of the benefits that they rightfully deserved? We demand for the liberal interpretation of the law. Selective application of SRA is unfair and discriminatory,” Sancho said.
He further added all health workers should receive the SRA because all of them are exposed to the virus.
“Our frontliners need our support, their services are indispensable with the surge in COVID-19 infections. All the accolades rendered for them would be nothing but lip-service, if the government will not give what is due for them. Let us not wait for the day when most of our frontline health workers would go on mass resignation or simply quit their jobs because they are too tired suffering from burn-out syndrome due to the psychological stress or trauma,” he said./WDJ