Workers show flaws in jobs action plan

Published by rudy Date posted on February 1, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — Workers party-list Partido ng Manggagawa on Saturday pointed out the flaws in the action plan drafted at Friday’s Multi-sectoral Conference on the Global Financial Crisis organized by the Department of Labor and Employment.

PM chairman Renato Magtubo said the intrinsic flaw in the so-called commitments and deliverables are skewed toward the bailout of capitalists, not the workers.

Specifically, he said, the plan is heavy on reducing the cost of doing business but silent on lowering the cost of living for workers. He said proposals were for tax cuts for businesses, but no tax refunds for workers.

“It is the workers who need life vests from government not the capitalists who have their own yachts in the face of the global economic storm,” he said in a statement e-mailed to media outfits.

To effectively create a domestic market, Magtubo said the economic climate must be such that the workers and the poor, who make up most of the population, have money in their hands.

“Calling on the people to patronize local products is inutile unless we raise the purchasing power of the workers and the poor,” he said.

Magtubo also scored the labor department for not assisting the 400 Dyna Image workers in the Cavite Economic Zone who lost their jobs Friday.

“The part of action plan that directly addresses workers concerns is just more of the same — income augmentation and worker retraining,” he said, pointing out to failures in previous retraining programs.

He stressed that retraining must be complemented by a subsidy so that the displaced workers are not distracted by concern over their families’ daily survival and can concentrate on learning new skills for their future work.

On assistance through the government’s WIN-AP program, Magtubo said the application process is so long, taking a union three months before a proposal is approved, and more to get the funds released.

He said the same program, which also covers individuals, provides a measly amount of P5,000 that is quickly consumed by food and other basic needs.

Magtubo said the spin is different from what actually happens.

Specifically, he said, the labor department’s regional office in Central Visayas announced that it released P2.4 million in assistance to more than 1,000 displaced workers.

“In fact, the recipients of the WIN-AP projects were unions in five companies which had not experienced layoffs. The only exception was the R and Y Augousti but the more than 100 workers recently retrenched are not union members and thus will not benefit from the livelihood project,” he said.

“No doubt the union members deserve such assistance but the labor department is lying when it said it that displaced workers are its beneficiaries,” he added.–

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