Workers’ organizations and cause-oriented groups marched to Malacañang Palace on Sunday, Labor Day,
to call for an end to labor-only contracting.
Members of party-list groups Ating Guro and Sanlakas and militant organizations Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Partido Lakas ng Masa converged in front of Manila City Hall for a short program before marching to Mendiola Bridge near the presidential palace to demand the hiring of workers for fixed periods of time.
“The mere mention of the problem of contractual labor by all candidates at the recent presidential debate does not appease the millions of workers and the trade union movement. The presidential candidates do not deserve praise for bringing this anti-worker scheme to the electoral arena. It was the years of campaigning by the labor movement that brought it to the fore. They should rather be reprimanded by their collective silence on legal loopholes that allow contractualization,” said Leody de Guzman, BMP president and Sanlakas nominee.
De Guzman stressed the need to amend Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, which gave the labor secretary the power to regulate, restrict or prohibit contractual employment.
Joining the militant groups in their traditional Labor Day march were public school teachers from Ating Guro and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, who came dressed in pink.
“Most people, even some of our co-teachers, do not regard themselves as part of the working class. But the factory worker and the lowly civil servant have a lot in common, despite the difference between private and public sectors or manual and mental labor. We do not own factories, machines and equipment. We work in exchange for our pay. We belong to the same class,” said Benjo Basas, Ating Guro nominee and a teacher from Caloocan.
But President Benigno Aquino III cited improvements made in the labor sector during his term on Labor Day.
“We salute the Filipino workers who work for their families and dreams. We observe Labor Day to thank them for offering their skills, honor and strength,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., during an interview over state-run radio station dzRB.
Coloma said the government is in unity with Filipino workers around the world in celebrating Labor Day.
He said the Aquino administration helped more Filipinos find jobs.
According to data of the Department of Labor and Employment, during the last five years, from 2011 to 2016, 6.657 million qualified applicants were employed. This compares to 4.72 million from 2005 to 2010, during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
This is an additional two million jobs or an increase of 41 percent.
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