1M graduates face bleak future
One million students graduating from college this year are facing a bleak future, according to the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
Waiting for the graduates are the same old problems of job-skill mismatch, low wages, contractualization and unsafe workplaces, the group said.
“We don’t want to give these young [people] any false hopes. We don’t want to discourage them either, but these are the issues that confront our new graduates,” Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesperson, said in a statement on Monday.
Citing the October 2016 Labor Force Survey, which showed close to 8 million workers in need of second jobs to augment their daily income, Tanjusay said mismatch between skills and actual jobs available was the prime driver of underemployment in the Philippines.
“Graduates are also confronted with low entry-level minimum wages. The purchasing value of the current P491 entry-level daily wage for workers in the National Capital Region has eroded to P363 a day excluding mandatory social protection, salary deductions, and transportation and meal expenses,” he said.
The graduates also face precarious and prevalent job contractualization arrangements, he said.
Known as “555” (five-month contracts) and “endo” (end of contract), contractualization is a work arrangement where workers are terminated after five months and then rehired for another five months.
“Seven out of 10 of the current 41-million-strong workforce are contractuals. Workers who were contractuals more than five years ago remain contractuals, getting the same entry-level pay without security of tenure and the benefits that they are supposed to enjoy,” Tanjusay said.
“That’s how bad and massive contractualization is,” he added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is expected to sign an order on contractualization this week.
Bello was supposed to sign the order last week but labor and management groups asked for four days to discuss their “fundamental differences.”
Labor coalition Nagkaisa spokesperson Rene Magtubo said the proposed order was unacceptable because it still carried the “win-win” solution that workers had rejected.
Bello, on the other hand, explained that the labor department could not end contractualization.
“We have to accept the fact that there are certain works or jobs that are seasonal. We have to be ready for that, we have laws to talk about,” he said.
“Our position is, there are certain contractual arrangements that are allowed, which we intend to regulate. House Bill No. 444 will definitely prohibit and criminalize contractualization and all forms of fixed-term contracts. But in the meantime that there is a law, that’s what I’m going to do, which allows certain forms of contractualization,” he added.
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