Philippine labor groups on Thursday, October 7, called for “policy changes in terms of wage and job security” on the occasion of World Day for Decent Work.
In a joint statement, five labor groups said they “stand together to push for a Decent Work Agenda” amid the “massive joblessness, economic hardships of workers and violations of trade union and human rights, primarily by state forces.”
They accused the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of having “the worst record in job generation” with about 6.9% or 3.1 million jobless Filipinos based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Independent pollster Social Weather Stations, however, estimated that there are 13.5 million jobless Filipinos.
“As a means to ease the burdens brought about by the pandemic and economic crisis,” the labor groups demanded a Php100 (about US$2) daily wage subsidy “as an inflation adjustment allowance to the value lost from our wages.”
The also asked for a “Paid Pandemic Leave” so that workers will not be forced to go to work to survive daily, despite sickness and quarantine protocols.
The labor groups also called for a Php750 (about US$15) “National Minimum Wage” to ensure a “more equitable basic income for every worker to meet their family’s immediate needs.”
“We demand an end to contractual and casual work, and we demand security of tenure for every worker in every factory in the country,” they said.
“We demand job creation in the most strategic and vital industries in the country. We demand more jobs in agriculture, local manufacturing, transport and the public sector. We demand dignity of work through consistent and massive regularization and direct hiring of contractual workers,” said the groups.
They also decried the failure of government to create jobs and dignified work for Filipinos. “The people know there are funds for jobs, but billions are misused and pocketed,” said the groups.
The statement was signed by the Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organizations; Association of Democratic Labor Organizations; Drug, Food and Allied Workers Federation; Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa; and the National Federation of Labor Unions.
October 7 is World Day for Decent Work when trade unions, union federations, and other workers associations develop their actions to promote the idea of Decent Work.
Actions vary from street demonstrations to music events or conferences held in many countries.