Somebody asked me why there are longer labor strikes especially at this time when prices of basic commodities are skyrocketing and jobs are harder to find. Why are laborers and employees in the private sector not asking for higher wages?
I have only one explanation to this phenomenon. It must be because the “contractualization” of labor has been institutionalized. No thanks to the Labor Department which chooses to remain blind, deaf and dumb.
By contractualization, I refer to employers—owners of malls, department stores and other establishments—who hire workers on rotation basis, for a period of five months. They are then replaced by another group for another five months.
The idea is to circumvent the law, really. If casual employees continue to work for six months or more, they are by law considered permanent. They would then be entitled to benefits, like the 13th month pay, sick and vacation leaves, and others. But when these workers and laborers are rotated by agencies, which by the way are also owned by the employers, every five months, they are deemed casual workers only.
This practice has been going on for years. The Labor Department has institutionalized it simply by ignoring the problem. It’s illegal and abusive.
No strike? How can casual laborers strike when their status is only temporary?
Congress should look at this matter, if it wants to show it is serious about something other than the promotion of the agenda of its members in the Senate or the House.
Santa Banana, the Labor secretary has a lot of explaining to do. Why, this can even be a case for the Ombudsman! –Emil Jurado, Manila Standard Today