Published by rudy Date posted on February 28, 2017

Uninclusive, Precarious, a virtual form Modern Slavery
Workers’ mobilization against contractualization and precarious work

6.28.2016, Manila. — Some 326 union leaders, members and their families –perched along the historical wall of Intramuros, under close watch by a throng of police –bellowed a unified cry for justice. They called for an end to exploitation propagated by the pervasive practice of contractual and precarious employment arrangements.

They chanted “kontraktuwalisasyon: walang kasiguruhan! Walang kinabukasan! Pahirap sa kabataan at kababaihan!”
(“Contractualization: No security of tenure! No future! A shackle that burdens youth and women workers!”)

Contractual employment arrangement is a devious scheme where the employment of workers is terminated after rendering five or less than six months of service, effectively depriving them the chance of regular employment and robbing them of the opportunity to enjoy mandatory fringe and company-initiated benefits. It is also popularly called “endo” or end-of-contract or 5-5-5 pertaining to the cycle of five months of employment, five months or more of job hunting, and if lucky, another five months of contractual employment.

In “Measuring Decent Work in the Philippines” using data between the period of 1995 and 2010, the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) indicated that “precarious work remains widespread. PSA said that in 2010, 15% of all workers were in “precarious work”, i.e. casual, short-term, seasonal, worked for different employers from day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

In 2014, the PSA Labor Survey showed:

  • Workers in precarious work as a percentage of the total employment increased from 14.4% or 3.9 million in 2000 to 17.4% or 6.7 million in 2014;
  • There were more men than women in precarious work and the proportion is on an increasing trend, 2.693 million in 2000 to 6.718 million in 2014, and 1.247 million in 2000 to 2.240 million in 2014, respectively;
  • Precarious employment was apparent in the industry (30.4%) with more than twice recorded in agriculture (16.7%), and services sectors (13.9%) in 2014.

Some 600,000 workers in government are in similar contractual employment arrangements.

“Contractualization is an open defiance of the labor code provision against labor-only contracting,” says TUCP President Ruben Torres.

“Contractualization is anti-worker and anti-union. It denies workers with their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Labor Code and the Philippine-ratified core ILO labor conventions,” says Torres.

Torres adds: “The statement of unenlightened sectors and individuals that five months of employment is better than being unemployed is purely an argument for slavery!”

Three days back, the TUCP, Federation of Free Workers (FFW), and Kilusan Mayo Uno (KMU) –affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation Asia Pacific (ITUC AP) –forged an issue based alliance to combat contractualization. While the labor movement is largely fragmented, this labor unity manifests a growing stand against contractualization, consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy pronouncement to abolish contractualization.

The ITUC AP affiliates called for:

  • The abolition of Department Order 18-A and adoption of a better policy that ensures secured and decent employment;
  • Generate decent employment and foreign investments that are compliant with core labor standards;
  • Strengthen labor inspection and penalize non-compliant workplaces;
  • Address “contract of service”, “job order” at “Memorandum of Agreement” workers in government;
  • Respect and promote workers freedom of association and collective bargaining; and
  • Consult workers and trade unions in the development of a Labor and Employment Plan that hopes to address Decent Work deficits, unemployment; inequality, at massive poverty. (REM)

(More photos of the mobilization can be seen at the TUCP Facebook page: Tucp Kmp Ituc)

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