MANILA — On May 1, labor organizations and other sectoral groups led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) came together and voiced out grievances on the worsening unemployment, underemployment situation as well as attacks on workers’ rights and oppressive working conditions, especially contractualization and low wages as they commemorated the 172nd Labor Day.
Bulatlat.com asked people at the Liwasang Bonifacio Labor Day program about the status of their employment under President Aquino.
By KATHRINA MANUEL AND LHEALYN VICTORIA
Charlie Arevalo, 46, PLDT employee for 22 years
There is no job security, (due to) widening contractualization, employment of contractuals, and offers of early retirement to regular workers. (Early retirement) is offered to everyone, regardless of how long you have been in the company.
Elizardo Martinez, 38, corn vendor
I used to be a construction worker, but the work was for scraps. The wage was at P270 ($6) a day, just enough for food, and when the project is done, I have to find another job. When I discovered this ( corn selling), I tried it and it was okay, I control my work hours, and the income depends on the day.Sometimes it is good, at times, it’s just break even.
Fe Mozar, 54, store vendor
I have a small store. The income is enough since I live on my own, and my children have their own families.
Euphemia Doringo, 39, Women Wise-Camarin Chapter
In 2009, I was laid off from work because I got pregnant again, so from 2009 up to now, I have been unemployed. My husband lost his job in August last year, and still hasn’t found regular work, but gets odd jobs. But what pains us is that on Aug. 29, 2014, we were relocated from 164 village in Tullahan River to the Camarin Residences. It has been difficult for us because we were brought far from our source of livelihood.
Greg Acierto, 54, Vice president of United Coca-Cola Workers (UCCW)
Ay, our employment is not good because Aquino did not give any increase this year, just like the previous years when he did not raise workers’ wages.
Ignacio Gabon,34, Member of Vanson Paper Workers and KMU
Our working conditions at the Valenzuela factory are okay, but what we are asking him (President Aquino) is to increase wages and to eliminate contractualization.
Aljohn Cueva, 19, 4th yr student in AB Filipinolohiya, PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila
If they will not remove the Filipino subject, it will be easy, we could still get a job because we will have students to teach. Now, if the CMO 20 (Commission on Higher Education Memo Order 20) will be pursued and they will eliminate Filipino as a part of the college curriculum, it will be hard for us to find a job. Even if there are opportunities in mass communications, we are prepared and trained primarily to teach (Filipino).
Marvin G. Lai, professor and president of Kagawaran ng Pilipinolohiya, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila
During his term, Aquino didn’t have policies and programs providing for salary increases of workers and teachers in the country. His Ched Memorandum Order 20 and K to 12 is a big blow to teachers. There was no consultation among all higher educational institutions – not just the state universities and colleges but also the private universities and colleges – on its (CMO 20’s) implications on labor. He does not care about the teachers and workers of this country.
Reden Alcantara, 37, president of Metal Worker’s Alliance Philippines, composed of different unions in the industry of electronics, semi-conductors,automotive, mining, chip-building
Under the Aquino regime, the number of regular employees decreased while the contractual workers increased, so that almost 90 percent of workers of all industries are contractual. This is worse in electronics and automotive. It means workers’ wages have also gone down, including their benefits and job security.