Friday, October 22, 2021

Velez: May Day united

IN COMMEMORATING the 132nd International Labor Day, President Duterte's gift for the millions of workers is to wait a little longer for “endo” or end of contract scheme to end. Weeks earlier, the President declined to sign a new Executive Order which labor federations endorsed that could have end that scheme.

Aside from that, the foreign affairs also gave an unexpected, and unwanted gift, sending 260,000 OFWs back home from Kuwait.

Labor Day this year will be remembered for two things. One is the day a promise by the President was broken.

It will also be remembered as the day that major labor federations united again in 30 years to fight one common goal: to end “endo”.

Here in Davao, labor federations Kilusang Mayo Uno, Sentro-Nagkakaisa and Partido Manggagawa-Nagkakaisa gathered 2,000 of its members in Orcullo's Park to voice their united voice.

It is a united voice of disappointment over broken promises and their efforts to bring their campaigns to fruition.

"We are disappointed. After two years of mass actions, dialogues and negotiations, amid the rising prices of basic commodities brought about by TRAIN, the supposed stopping of contractualization grounded to a halt. It dimmed the prospect of hope; the draft Executive Order which hurdled five revisions was abandoned and the president's promise was passed on to Congress," their statement said.

The groups had three dialogues with the president since last year, and also helped in drafting the EO that the President refused to sign.

KMU and other labor groups said contractualization is widespread. They said 80 percent of the companies are hiring contractual workers, and mostly through an agency.

Major companies in the city such as Holcim Philippines only have 30 percent regular workers, Coca-Cola 40 percent. The multinational Dole Philippines Stanfilco's 3,000 workforce in Mindanao is 98% on contractual basis.

Contractual workers suffer from lack of job security, employment benefits, and workers' rights. Amidst the hardships brought by high prices, taxation, and lack of job opportunities, workers and unions have reason to unite to defend the rights of 40 million workers.

"If this is his failure to deliver his promise, this is the start of his fall," warned Joel Bañas of SENTRO Nagkakaisa during the rally.

Kilusang Mayo Uno Secretary General Carlo Olalo said contractualization serves the interests of multinationals. "They want us to remain in contractual work where workers don't have a decent living wage."

Studies have shown that a Filipino family needs 1,190 pesos a day to survive. The minimum daily wage in Davao is pegged at P350.

Olalo said the gathering of labor unions is a show of unity, a sea of red and blue shirted workers representing their federations. "We are angry, but we are united, to make the President realize how we are vital to this country. From this day on, we rely on our unity to come out to the streets to raise our just demands."



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