Category Archives: Living Wage

DOLE must enforce ‘prohibit order’ on contractualization

President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders are clear: Stop contractualization! No agency hiring!

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III received these marching orders from the President during the labor dialogue last Monday.  He was instructed to work on a new draft Department Order and to address the related plea of PALEA on outsourcing.

“As the alter ego of the President, Sec. Bello is hard pressed to comply with the order and to abide with the demand of workers without further delay,” said Nagkaisa chairman, Michael Mendoza.

Through a symbolic pressing of time button, the group declared a 30-day countdown for DOLE to come up with new rules prohibiting contractualization.

Junk win-win

The group noted that the latest draft of the issuance, distributed in January, still reflects the DTI and employers formula of legitimizing manpower agencies and regulating their practices.

“In the light of the President’s latest instructions, Sec. Bello should junk its draft and adopt Nagkaisa’s proposed DO, which seeks prohibition of contractualization, as the new working draft,” added Mendoza

On orders of the President, Sec. Bello is to convene the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) to discuss the new draft order. The TIPC, composed of workers and employers representatives serves as the clearinghouse of all labor polices, with the power to endorse proposed issuances to the DOLE Secretary.

“Should there be another deadlock at this level, we will expect the Secretary to decide along the line of prohibition agreed upon at the Palace,” stressed Mendoza.

The coalition is likewise hopeful that HB4444 authored by Rep, Raymond Mendoza of the TUCP Partylist, which seeks total prohibition and criminalization of contractualization offenses, will gain ground in Congress once certified by the President.

Once contractualization is finally prohibited, the rights of workers to security of tenure, to unionize and bargain collectively will be restored.

However, Mendoza called on workers to continue working together and be vigilant as the enemies of the working class will surely find ways to prevent workers from achieving total victory against contractualization and other forms of exploitation.

Women march against endo

Women make up more than half of contractual workers. Hence, led the Women’s Committee of Nagkaisa, women workers will continue to exert pressure on the DOLE to stop contractualization.

On March 6, two days before International Women’s Day, women workers will march from Plaza Salamanca to the DOLE offices in Intramuros. Among their calls are, “Sa multiple burden ko, dagdag pa ang endo”, “Sa regular jobs, may forever,” and “Endo itigil na, now na!”

Rights for public sector workers

While calling for a stop to contractualization in civil service, public sector unions has also secured a commitment from the President to ratify ILO Convention 151.

According to Annie Geron of the Public Services Independent Labor Confederation (PSLINK) which is affiliated with Public Services International (PSI), Convention 151 is an international labor standard that recognizes the rights of public sector workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Big Labor Alliance: Time to End Regionalization and Setting of Wages to Barest Minimum

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

It is the right of every Filipino to live a life of dignity as well as to quality standard of living. And for this national vision to be realized, the 1987 Constitution directed the State to provide labor full protection and ensure the right of workers and their families to a living wage.

Regrettably over the years since the Constitution was ratified, the workers’ demand for a family living wage was never addressed as previous governments deviated towards regionalization and the containment of wages to the barest minimum. This deviation consequently created wide gaps in wage levels all over the country as wage fixing mechanism now seeks the lowest level of balance in every region where the market clearing price of labor is primarily determined on the basis of employer’s capacity to pay rather than on the worker’s right to a living wage. The same problem can be seen in different wage levels in the public sector despite the salary standardization program.

As a result, this minimum wage and regionalization policy created the condition of chronic poverty and deepening inequality in the country as millions of workers were consigned to an imposed reality of sustaining their families on wages that can hardly meet even half of the daily cost of living.

We, the NAGKAISA, therefore, take as delighting news the planned nationalization of the minimum wage announced recently by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello. It is because of our long-standing position that poverty knows no boundary while inequality is the despicable outcome of unfair distribution of national wealth. This deformed policy clearly needs to be rectified, now!

However, we always consider as mere government propaganda a major pronouncement that is left without form at the policy level. That, certainly, is what happened to the living wage principle that lay lifeless in the Constitution during the last three decades. But since the new administration has made a pledge to rectify the errors of the previous administrations, stopping the plague of contractualization and realizing the living wage were core issues that NAGKAISA and the government can work together in achieving a common goal.

At this particular juncture, the NAGKAISA labor coalition gladly presumes that the Duterte administration remains committed to the principle of living wage and that its planned nationalization of minimum wage will lead towards the ultimate realization of this social objective. Workers, in the first place, deserve not a minimum wage but a fair share in the product of their labor.

Hence, in line with the pronouncement of Secretary Bello, the NAGKAISA is looking forward soon to an Order, or something to that effect, going to be issued by Malacanang. We are looking forward to an instruction to all regional wage boards to issue a uniform wage order that is based on Metro Manila rate. And we are, at the same time, looking forward to a Palace-endorsed or certified bill in Congress seeking the same and eventually the repeal of the existing Wage Rationalization Act.

The NAGKAISA also strongly believe on the principle of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value not just on private sector workers but for those government employees who are in the same bind. In the same breath, the NAGKAISA call on the government for the uniform application and implementation of Salary Standardization Law to all local government units (LGUs).

It is high time to stop the spiral race to the bottom by ending the regionalization and setting of wages to the barest minimum now. The NAGKAISA believes this can be done especially when government will treat the labor movement as main partner to this enormous reform tasks.

Therefore, we urge the government to instruct all regional wage boards to issue a uniform wage order the rate of which is based on Metro Manila. We call on government to certify a bill in Congress seeking the same and, eventually, the repeal of the existing Wage Rationalization Act. The NAGKAISA, likewise, call on the government for the uniform application and implementation of Salary Standardization Law to all local government units (LGUs).

About NAGKAISA

Issue-based NAGKAISA labor coalition is composed of 47 labor federations, workers organizations in public and private sectors and various urban and peasants groups. The group came together in April 2012 to advocate for workers’ living wage, promote security of tenure, to lower the cost and ensure reliable supply of power, and for public sector workers to be allowed to form unions and collectively bargain.

The members of the NAGKAISA are: Alliance of Free Workers (AFW) , All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal, Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers’Union (ALU-PSU), ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS), Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions (FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan sa Paggawa (KILUSAN), Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).

Except for Duterte, leading candidates for the presidential race signs contract to end contractualization

binay_poe_roxas

Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe and Sec. Mar Roxas

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).

Colleagues in the War on Want and comrades in the UK’s trade union movement

#noTTIP

War on Want were out on the streets on Saturday with the tens of thousands across Europe to say #noTTIP!

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) or Center of United and Progressive Workers, a national labor center in the Philippines composed of workers in the private, public, informal and migrant sectors, conveys its steadfast support for your mass actions today demanding for the long overdue living wage of the vast majority of the working people in the United Kingdom.

In fact, this call is more than ever relevant throughout the world as neoliberalism further stretches its repugnant tentacles, wreaking havoc on us, the workers – busting our unions, stifling our rights, ruining our job security, depleting our benefits, force-feeding us with cheap, starvation wages.

Sentro is one with your march that aims to make the workers – and not merely the filthy rich and employers – to enjoy the supposed gains in your national economy; hence, higher salaries and added perks, stable employment, a really functioning national minimum wage law that protects workers from extremely low pays, curbing excessive profits and other predatory capitalist practices, end to “poverty wages,” among others.

Sentro and the Filipino workers could easily relate to your problems and your struggle – Philippine workers are actually one of the lowest paid among the so-called developing nations, a notoriety which remains despite the much ballyhooed economic “growth” of the country in the past four years. In particular, the minimum wage system here has routinely been violated; it has become the ceiling wage instead of the floor wage for most workers, consigning them to a ceaseless subsistence life. It is now even being adjusted to be pegged to poverty levels, thereby perpetuating pathetic wages for the working poor. This is amid the explicit provision in the Philippine Constitution declaring that workers are “entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage.”

Fighting for a genuine living wage should therefore be one of the primary and continuing advocacies of trade unionists and social activists in the UK and the Philippines – and elsewhere. In particular, opposing contractualization and cheap labor policies must go hand in hand as pursuing secure jobs and a living wage are both pressing issues and not incompatible.

Living wage, not poverty wage!
Reduce profits, increase workers’ wages and benefits!
Fight for a living wage and secure jobs!
Long live the labor movement!

SENTRO
Quezon City, Philippines