Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A day before Labor Day, groups call for end to contractualization, wage increase

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A day before the observance of Labor Day, groups Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Tuesday called for an end to contractualization among workers.

"We have long and consistently called for a just end to pervasive contractualization of labor, yet the practice of labor-only contracting, job-only contracting and other forms of flexible labor remain prevalent among the working people," KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.

Attorney Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa and a senatorial candidate, vowed that the labor movement would "defend workers' rights to the last."

"With enough political will, President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in the Senate can still have a Security of Tenure Law enacted during this Congress," Matula said.

"This will definitely continue the pressure on the Senate, especially its reelectionist senators to openly declare either their support or opposition to the proposed End Endo law,” he added.

Duterte during the 2016 presidential campaign promised to abolish "endo" or the practice of contractualization.

In 2018, Duterte inked Executive Order 51 which prohibits the illegal contracting and sub-contracting of workers “by all parties including cooperatives.”

According to Labog, the said EO as well as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Order 174 in 2017 both failed to solve and instead worsened contractualization in the country.

"This is unacceptable. We cannot legitimize labor-only contractors, who do nothing but recruit and deploy workers, yet maintain supervision over contractual workers on paper," Labog said.

"They connive with principal business owners to deprive workers of security of tenure and other basic labor rights, while avoiding legal and financial obligations,” he added.

Wage increase

Meanwhile, the labor groups also called for an increase in wages, especially the fulfillment of a national minimum wage.

"A significant wage hike is long overdue. The sharp increase in inflation and cost of living has already eroded the value of existing wages. We call for an immediate wage increase and a national minimum wage for all workers in the country," Labog said.

In a separate Balitanghali report by GMA News' Mark Salazar, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for an additional P710 on the minimum wage of workers in the National Capital Region.

"Tumaas 'yung labor productivity for the past 12 years ng 59 percent pero wala hong kapalit 'yun na real wage increase," Luis Manuel Corral, TUCP vice president, said.

If the Tripartite Wage Board will allow this increase, the minimum wage in Metro Manila will be P1,247, the report said.

For its part, the DOLE said the wage increase will be a long shot.

"Basically ang criteria ay 'yung needs ng workers, isang set 'yun tapos 'yung isa naman 'yung capacity of the employer to pay. Isang set 'yun and then the needs of the economy," Undersecretary Ana Dione said. — By ANNA FELICIA BAJO, RSJ, GMA News

Friday, April 5, 2019

No ground for suspension of writ of habeas corpus – labor group

A labor coalition insists there is “no ground” to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, as President Duterte threatened to do so.

Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

On Thursday, President Duterte threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a revolutionary war.

“There is no actual or existing rebellion or invasion contemplated under Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution that can be invoked to justify the suspension,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.

The Constitution states under Article VII (Executive Department), Section 18 that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus….”

Matula doubts that the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will follow such orders.

“I don’t think members of the AFP will follow his orders if he will suspend the privilege under his military power as commander-in-chief,” he said.
Matula said the President might be exaggerating his statements again, which he is known for. “Maybe he is joking again, as will be explained by his spokespersons,” he said.

However, the labor leader said that such statement is “no laughing matter.” He then urged the public to be vigilant with regards to their rights.

“This is no laughing matter. Our human rights are being threatened. That’s the serious matter that we need to address. Let’s be vigilant to protect our civil rights and to protect ourselves from unlawful arrest, threat, or other forms of repression,” Matula said. - By Analou De Vera