MANILA – On “World Day for Decent Work”, a workers’ alliance marched to Mendiola to call for the scrapping of contractual employment which they say embodies a serious attack on workers’ right to decent work.
For the seventh year now, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the biggest international confederation of labor groups, has been calling for workers’ mobilizations on the World Day for Decent Work as part of the struggle for social justice and decent work for all.
In Manila, the ACT2WIN! Alliance, or Action against Contractualization and Towards Significant Wage Increase Now!, held a protest action in Mendiola, near Malacañang, with its members holding placards demanding “Junk contractualization!”
From the experiences of members of the alliance, they say contractual employment has come to mean starvation wages, denial of benefits, vulnerability to being laid off, exposure to health and safety hazards, and violations of trade-union rights.
“Once more, we have to emphasize that labor is not a commodity for sale in exchange for low wages or contractual work. Labor deserves a living wage and is entitled to job security. These are rights guaranteed by our fundamental law,” said Sonny Matula, president of Federation of Free Workers, one of the founding members of ACT2Win.
But the implementing laws leave much to be desired, the workers’ alliance finds out. The Herrera Law of 1989, which amends the 1973 Labor Code, has granted the country’s Labor secretary the power to define permissible contractual employment. Under Aquino, the Labor secretary issued Department Order 18-A Series of 2011 defining and legalizing contractual employment, ACT2WIN said.
“Contractual employment has no benefit whatsoever for Filipino workers. The fact that it is being implemented shows that the government is favoring the big foreign and local capitalists over ordinary workers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
Errol Alonzo, president of the Young Christian Workers, said that it is the young workers who suffer from contractualization, and from “other labor flexibilization schemes being implemented by the government.”
“We vow to intensify our protests against contractual employment. We will continue to strengthen our unity to fight for regular employment and decent jobs for all,” Labog said.