President Duterte should immediately fulfill his campaign promise to end the prevalent practice of contractualization, more popularly known as “endo,” the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) said on Tuesday as they staged their annual “the Passion of Christ the Worker” in observance of the Lenten season, which reenacts the many “crosses” of most Filipinos that weigh them down.
“Endo is the widespread practice of companies to consign workers to a life of poverty through endless cycles of fixed term employment,” according to Josua Mata, Sentro’s Secretary General, adding that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and even the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, wants to perpetuate.
After almost two years, the campaign promise of President Duterte to end contractualization remains to be delivered. This begs the question, said Mata: was the president even serious with his promise to the workers when he was still campaigning for the highest position in the government?
Rather than put an end to “endo” and ease the pain of the working people, the Duterte administration even piled more burdens like the anti-poor TRAIN law, the continued imposition of a “low wage policy” amidst a rising inflation and the horrific human rights violations stemming from the so-called “war on drugs” that has victimized mostly the working poor.
Meanwhile, the quality of jobs being generated remains to be low. The latest Labor Force Survey shows that while the employment rate rose to 94.7 percent in January this year from 93.4 percent in the same month last year, resulting to the generation of an additional 2.4 million jobs in the last quarter, the country’s underemployment rate during the same period rose to 18 percent from 16.3 percent last year. This means that 626,064 workers were “employed” but still “desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.”
Government should not use the long worn-out assertion that contractual jobs are better than no jobs at all, Mata warned. He added that we shouldn’t use employment data to reduce the workers’ condition into mere numbers. “So long as contractualization remain widespread, the country will not be able to rid itself of poverty,” Mata said.
“Contractual workers live bits-and-pieces of their lives, they cannot plan their future beyond the five or six months contracts given to them,” says Mata adding that these workers employed precariously include millions of college graduates, women caught up in abusive labor condition, and the migrant workers scattered around the world.”
End contractual work, end poverty!