Labor leader: Workers are in distress

A LOCAL labor leader said our army of unemployed will be bloated amid the pandemic.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said there are about 2.5 million unemployed Filipino workers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This could balloon into five million if taken into account the tens of thousands overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), seafarers and land-based who are coming home for good.

Sancho said they will be joined by at least 11,000 workers from ABS-CBN who would be soon terminated due to the network’s shutdown.

“Labor had braced themselves for the worst and got it - the spectrum of unemployment and loss of their daily income,” he said, adding that this has resulted to emotional stress, anxiety and depression because there is no food on the table for their family.”

Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board - Western Visayas, said farmers could no longer bear the pressure to confront hunger and poverty.

It is humiliating, for him, to see that some workers were forced to become beggars on the streets to feed their impoverished families.

Sancho said labor which is the “primary social economic force” are now in distress.

“Majority of them are suffering from lockdown fatigue and frustration after losing their jobs,” he added.

As this developed, Gawa is appealing to the government to provide a decent and dignified economic life for the unemployed due to pandemic.

The group said the workers are screaming for help, but the relief is not sufficient or doesn’t come at all.

Its official further claimed that the amelioration program of the government could not ameliorate the lives of the poor jobless workers.

After all their sufferings, jobless workers are in distress, uncertain if they could return to their works or find another job, Sancho said.

“They felt that they have nothing to hope for in the future. They were left with only their eyes to weep on,” he said.

As the number of unemployment increases and as thousands of OFWs are coming in, their chances for employment is slim as many workers would take the jobs at lower pay, the labor leader added.


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