Labor conditions worse, DOLE lying

labor worse
The Department of Labor and Employment is lying in saying that labor conditions in the country have improved. The condition of  wages, employment, trade-union rights and workplace safety remain dire.

Even if the DOLE’s claims about more frequent labor inspections and faster resolution of labor cases are true, these have not significantly altered the prevalence of low wages, contractual employment, and violations of trade-union rights and Occupational Health and Safety Standards.

Even if the DOLE’s claims about summer employment programs for the youth and the availability of information on jobs in the Internet are true, these have not brought about a better employment condition in the country.

It appears that the DOLE made the fantastic claim that labor conditions have improved in the country in order to please the International Labor Organization, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian government, and other funders of its programs.

The truth is that labor conditions have worsened in the past years. Funding from foreign governments and institutions can do little to improve the plight of Filipino workers, but they can at least be used to expose this plight. The DOLE’s failure to truthfully present the condition of workers indicates that funds may have been pocketed by its top officials.

Wages. Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation has said this month that the minimum wage was barely increased under Pres. Noynoy Aquino and that its gap with the Family Living Wage grew in recent years.

We ask the DOLE: What happened to companies’ compliance with the minimum wage? The October 2011 National Labor Force Survey showed that 46 percent of the country’s wage and salary workers were receiving wages below the minimum.

Contractualization. The DOLE itself has not updated data on contractualization and we have every reason to believe that contractuals now comprise the majority of workers, both in the private and public sectors.

Employment. In a July 2015 study, Ibon Foundation said that the country is experiencing the worst jobs crisis in history, with 4.3 million unemployed and 7.9 million underemployed.

Union busting. When workers try to form unions, they are massively retrenched. How many capitalists have the DOLE punished for this widespread crime? What has the DOLE done to render justice to the workers of Tanduay Distillers, Inc., Pentagon Steel Corporation, and other companies who faced violence in their picket lines?

Occupational Health and Safety. Even the DOLE’s inspection failed to prevent the death of more than 72 workers in the factory fire that gutted Kentex Manufacturing Corporation last May 13, 2015. The agency has so refused to aid victims in their quest for justice.