July 21, 2010
Days before President Aquino’s SONA, and after business groups have continuously gained attention for presenting their agenda to his administration, workers still have yet to hear his government’s response to legitimate labor demands that call for urgent action.
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno submitted to Aquino its Labor Agenda which was consolidated in a workers’ summit held on Monday. The agenda includes certifying as urgent the P125 nationwide wage hike bill, scrapping DOLE Order No. 18 that allowed more widespread hiring of contractuals, and investigating corporate policies that trample upon many workers’ rights.
“Noynoy has made enough pronouncements on making the country’s business environment more vibrant for corporate growth and attractive to foreign investors. His Cabinet is filled with many private firm executives and business groups have supported and financed his electoral campaign. This leads us to ask: What place do we workers have in his administration?” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.
“Business groups and foreign investors have been very vocal in opposing a wage hike, and Aquino did not mention anything about wages in his inaugural address. Does this mean that we can expect our standards of living to sink even deeper under his administration than under Arroyo’s?
“Firms have greatly expanded contractual work, business groups are pushing for its legalization by amending the Labor Code, and Aquino’s pronouncement on job creation stresses ‘emergency employment’ that is consistent with the vision of big business. Does this mean people will have to worry more about losing their jobs and finding only short-term and irregular jobs under the new administration?
“Business groups have been pushing for more privatization of public services and Aquino appointed owners of privatized government services – such as Almendras from Manila Water and Singson from Maynilad – to top executive posts. Is the current water shortage the start of a larger crisis in the context of an even more unregulated and privatized delivery of public and social services?” Labog asked.
“Noynoy’s grand promises for change should translate into concrete commitments and clearly laid-down programs – those which address the true state and concerns of the workers and people, not businessmen’s caprices just like his predecessor,” Labog said.
Elmer Labog, KMU Chairperson