“Contractualization is essentially an attack on the right of workers and the people to a living wage, to job security and to exercising trade-union rights. Any form of “protection” under a contractual employment status won’t be enough. Only unionization and regularization will truly protect contractuals.” – KMU
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
Posted by Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY — The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) advised the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that unionization and regularization are the two things that would best serve contractual workers.
KMU said this in reaction to statements by DOLE saying it would “protect” contractual workers and “pursue all-out-effort” to battle forms of contractualization through its Labor Enforcement and Action Program (LEAP). In its website DOLE said its “regional offices will look into the worst cases of contractualization, especially in the agriculture industry by inspecting workplaces.”
According to the DOLE, LEAP consists of two phases. The first phase runs from August 2 to November 30, 2010 while the second phase will run from February to November 2011. In the first phase, DOLE plans to inspect security agencies, manpower agencies, sub-contractors, cooperatives, manufacturing establishments and restaurant and fast-food enterprises.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in her speech during the 3rd National Multi-Sectoral Policy Conference on Human Development claimed that DOLE is now also undertaking efforts to ensure the transparency of enforcement of labor standards by posting all labor cases at its website.
“Inspecting workplaces for violations of labor standards is still a far cry from actually protecting contractual workers,” KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog said. He added that the best way of protecting workers is ending their contractual status, regularizing them and allowing them to join or form unions. “It is sad that DOLE as a government institution has always stood in the way of giving genuine protection to contractual workers,” Labog said.
In the first place the DOLE and the government have promoted contractualization to further increase the profits of big local and foreign capitalists, said Labog. He explained that contractualization means reduction of wages, lack of job security and attacks on workers’ rights. He stressed that contractualization has weakened unions because contractual workers can easily and “legally” be fired from work for joining union activities.
KMU criticized DOLE for having confined itself to the worst forms of employment and for engaging only in rhetoric when it comes to protecting contractuals. According to KMU, these are also ways of legitimizing an “illegitimate” form of employment.
“Contractual work by itself is one of the worst forms of employment in the country. Why focus then on its worst forms? The DOLE isn’t saying much and won’t be doing much in focusing on its worst forms. Contractualization as a form of employment should be stopped,” said Labog. He said giving protection to contractual workers is legitimizing the illegitimate.
“Contractualization is essentially an attack on the right of workers and the people to a living wage, to job security and to exercising trade-union rights. Any form of “protection” under a contractual employment status won’t be enough. Only unionization and regularization will truly protect contractuals,” Labog concluded. (Bulatlat.com)