On the 10th year of the
Workers hold nationwide protest vs ‘license for contractualization’
February 21, 2012
|Photos courtesy of Kilusang Mayo Uno|
February 21, 2012
Young workers join workers' march to DOLE, bewails
Young workers belonging to the youth group
Anakbayan joined a rally today in front of the Dept. of Labor and
Employment (DOLE) main office, as they protested against the continuing
and widespread practice of contractualization
According to Vencer Crisostomo, national
chairperson of Anakbayan, youths are among the most affected by the
prevalence of contractualization in the country today.
"With 43% of all unemployed Filipinos holding
a college degree, fresh college graduates are forced to accept contractual
jobs. Even worse is the plight of those who don't even finish college or
even high school" said Crisostomo.
'Contractual' workers can be removed at a
moment's notice, making them more 'open' to accepting low wages, lack of
benefits, and hazardous working conditions.
One recent example is that of 153 janitors
working in the Main Campus of Polytechnic University of the Philippines in
Manila who were fired last February 17. When the said workers checked in
for work on the morning of that day, they were informed by the contracting
agency that 180 new workers were already hired to replace them.
Only through swift protests by the workers and
their supporter students and teachers was the PUP Administration pressured
into reinstating the 153.
Another example is that of employees in the
BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector, or more commonly known as call
center agents. Despite having relatively higher wages than workers in
other sectors, BPO employees endure very long and unhealthy working hours,
and stressful conditions such as extreme cold. As a result, many
constantly quit jobs due to 'burn-out', or the combined physical and
mental exhaustion from such working conditions.
“The Aquino administration’s refusal to
prevent contractualization shows that for them, its ‘capitalists first,
workers second’” said the youth leader.
“Through contractualization, the government is
giving capitalists a ‘legal way’ to commit the most anti-worker of
actions: violation of minimum wages, violation of workplace safety
standards, and violation of the right to form unions” he concluded. ###