Duterte lauded for contractualizaton stand

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno lauded Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte for expressing opposition to contractualization and urged other presidential aspirants to also speak up on the issue and other workers’ concerns.

The labor group said Duterte is correct in pointing out that contractual employment makes it difficult for workers to sustain their families and destroys the country’s work force in the long run.

“We are glad that Duterte has taken a pro-worker stand on one of the most important workers’ issues. We dare other presidential aspirants to also denounce this employment scheme which has meant a wholesale violation of workers’ rights,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The labor leader said contractuals, who now comprise the majority of the country’s workforce, receive wages lower than those received by regulars, are often robbed of their benefits, can be retrenched for the flimsiest of reasons, and face repression when they try to form unions.

“It’s not enough that presidentiables and other election talk about measures that will supposedly bring about economic development. At a time when the economy’ so-called growth only means increased profits for the few, candidates should talk about concrete measures that will improve the lives of workers and the poor,” Labog added.

Labog said workers are calling for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, the implementation of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750, the banning of contractual employment, and an end to union busting.

KMU said contractualization was legalized by the Labor Code of 1974, which expressly prohibits “Labor-Only Contracting” but empowers the Labor Secretary to issue guidelines that govern “Job Contracting.”

Provisions of the Labor Code of 1974 that in effect legalize contractualization were retained by the Herrera Law. Under Pres. Noynoy Aquino, Department Order No. 18-A Series of 2011 was issued to serve as guidelines for contractualization.

“Because contractualization violates workers’ rights to a living wage, to job security, and to the free exercise of trade-union rights, it should be banned. It is a scheme that allows capitalists, especially the big ones, to amass huge profits by attacking workers’ rights,” Labog added.