Group: Poor work conditions prompt construction workers to leave PH

THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said Friday, February 15, the poor working conditions in the country, not the lack of cooperation of construction workers, is to blame over the delays being experienced by the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program of the administration.

In a statement, TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said the shortage of Filipino construction workers in the country did not happen by choice but by circumstances.

“Treated poorly with low pay, meager benefits, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and poor access to certification are some of the reasons why the country is having shortage of Filipino construction workers,” said Mendoza.

“We are currently experiencing skill and brain drain phenomenon because of this bad treatment of our construction workers. The nation is losing fast its vast and excellent reserves of construction manpower to higher pay and attractive benefits offered by companies abroad,” he added.

Mendoza said President Rodrigo Duterte cannot just blame construction workers for the delays, stressing that they went overseas out of necessity.

“They prefer to work abroad after a few months of training and actual field experience here because they are dignified there, they are given higher salary and benefits there, and are given free decent housing and paid vacation,” he said.

“(In contrast) Construction workers even purchase their own personal protective equipment used in working, buy their own drinking water, pay for their food intake during work break to replenish strength, and given a dirty and bad sleeping quarters during the whole duration of the construction project,” Mendoza added.

Duterte, on Thursday, February 14, blamed the lack of skilled workers in the country for the supposed delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects of the administration.

He said his projects cannot be successful if the Filipino people will not cooperate with the government.

To note, the Build, Build, Build program aims to spend around $158 billion over the next five years for ports, airports, roads, railways, energy facilities, irrigation systems, and flood control facilities.

But the labor group said instead of blaming the construction workers,

it urged the government to make jobs in the country more attractive to Filipino construction workers by addressing the poor working conditions.

“Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program is an opportunity to address that and raise the dignity of our construction working people through a functioning and sustained government policy,” Mendoza said. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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