Three days before the elections, three presidential candidates signed a contract with a coalition of labor federations and workers’ organizations calling for the repeal of the notorious and rampant contractual work scheme in the country.
“We have the signatures of Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, and Jejomar Binay conforming to workers’ clamor to repeal contractualization work scheme in the country. While only 3 of the 5 presidential candidates have formally signed our proposed ‘anti-endo contract,’ we are elated that ending contractualization work scheme is among the primary social issues that is being advocated by all the ‘presidentiables,’ which will influence the outcome of the May 9 national elections,” the NAGKAISA labor coalition said in its statement.
By affixing their signatures, the 3 candidates have signified their commitment to fight contractualization. “Regardless of who among them wins, the minority president has a binding agreement with the majority – the Filipino working people. NAGKAISA will engage the new leadership to ensure that she/he will live up to their promise to end Endo,” the group said.
Unfortunately, Rodrigo Duterte’ did not sign the document. “This puts into question his sincerity in fighting contractualization,” NAGKAISA said.
Also known as “endo” (end of contract) or “5-5-5” jobs, this contractual work arrangement is characterized by hiring employees for only five months without security of tenure, paid with unlawful wages and without social protection benefits and privileges compared to what regular workers receive.
Both Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay signed the agreement committing themselves to, “Certify as urgent and enact the Security of Tenure bills both for the private and the public sectors as championed in the outgoing 16th congress by Representatives Raymond Mendoza, Walden Bello and Leah Paquiz.”
Mar Roxas agreed to, “Certify as urgent and enact the Security of Tenure Bill to protect workers’ rights from unfair contractualization,” but added that he would “study and develop flexible and lawful work arrangements to adapt to the needs of employees and employers, thereby securing humane working conditions and encouraging the creation of jobs.”
The Security of Tenure Bill referred to has been languishing in Congress for more than a decade now.
NAGKAISA considers contractualization as a modern day work slavery whereby workers toil to enrich their employers but are paid with measly wages, without Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth and Pag-IBIG protection benefits, cramp in risky workplaces and without security of tenure.
Aside from ending contractualization, other issues presidential candidates have agreed with NAGKAISA are providing for living wage, ensuring quality public services, reforming workplace labor inspection, ensuring the working poor’s right to the city, realizing full employment before the end of six years, among others.
The NAGKAISA is a coalition of 49 labor centers, federations, and workers’ organizations including big labor groups such as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Associated Labor Unions (ALU).