On Labor Day, workers hope for an end to 5-month jobs
Militant lawmakers on Saturday said workers can’t wait for President Benigno Aquino III to step down as the next administration would likely mean the end of job contractualization, per the promises of the presidential candidates.
“On Labor Day, workers will remember how this administration did nothing to end the exploitation of labor through contractualization. On Election Day, laborers will have a choice for who can help stop this anomaly,” said Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon.
The subcontracting of labor has become a major election issue amid growing complaints against businesses that refuse to hire workers beyond a five-month period. With contractualization, businesses avoid paying benefits and other perks mandated for regular workers, or those who have worked for at least six months.
In the latest presidential debate, the leading presidential candidates—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay—promised to end contractualization which is illegal under the country’s laws but has been bypassed by big businesses because of a loophole in its implementation.
Ridon said workers do not expect any change in the status quo for labor if “daang matuwid” would continue in the next administration.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the final weeks of the Aquino administration had given laborers hope the next president would be more compassionate to the plight of workers.
“I hope that we will have a new president, a new administration that will prioritize the interest of our workers, that will truly take care of our workers by banning contractualization, by making nationalist industrialization a priority so that more stable jobs can be created,” said Zarate.
Zarate said he expected workers to commemorate Labor Day by celebrating the end of the Aquino administration.
“This being the last Labor Day of BS Aquino, it will be a good-riddance blow of the Filipino workers to him by rejecting his fraudulent administration by also rejecting his putative and pretentious successor,” said Zarate.
Zarate said the President’s presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, a former interior secretary, failed to curb drug abuse, criminality and mismanaged traffic, the seaports and airports.
Senatorial candidate Martin Romualdez said the regularization of workers should be a priority of the next Congress to ensure that workers enjoy benefits and job security.
“The absence of security of tenure in their jobs contributes to poverty that we have been addressing for a very long time. We should specify which jobs or industries could have contractual labor,” said Romualdez.
As this developed, the Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), the biggest labor federation in the country, will again observe Labor Day with no angry mob of workers chanting antigovernment slogans, no burning of effigies, no horrendous traffic, and no sea of trash.
Instead, the group will conduct another clean-up drive, a unique Labor Day tradition which it started last year.
The 64-year-old federation, which includes more than 100 labor unions in almost all industries nationwide, would again arm its members with brooms to sweep Roxas Boulevard in Manila and nearby streets. They will also hold a feeding program, a gift-giving and awarding of small capital for micro entrepreneurs.
Lawyer Arnel Dolendo, PTGWO national president, said 5,000 members spent four hours last year sweeping the streets of Metro Manila, donating a total of 20,000 man hours of actual work for Labor Day.
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