Go on strike, Bello tells exploited health workers

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    LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello III is asking private hospitals and other medical facilities to stop exploiting their healthcare workers, especially considering their sacrifices amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “Our appeal to them is do not exploit your medical workers. Many of their nurses are working from a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a day but their salary is P15,000 to P18,000 only, which is way way below the rate of our nurses in the public sector,” Bello said in a virtual press briefing last week.

    “In high-end hospitals, they make millions of profits but do not share it to their workers,” he also said.

    He encouraged the exploited workers in private hospitals to assert their rights by holding a labor strike, among others.

    “Why don’t you join forces? All of you (health workers) in the private sector, come together and declare a strike. Let’s see if these hospitals don’t cooperate. They have to assert their rights because they have long been exploited,” said Bello.

    Medical workers, especially those in the private sector, usually eye employment opportunities abroad because of low salaries and unfavorable working conditions in privately-owned healthcare facilities. This is despite the country having a high demand for healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Bello said the Department of Labor and Employment has long wanted to run after erring hospital owners but “the problem is there are no complainants.”

    “They are very meek. If there is no complainant, what can our inspectors do?” he said.