DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Three labor organizations in Mindanao are set to march together on the 132nd commemoration of Labor Day to express frustration on President Duterte’s failure to end contractualization.
In a press conference on Monday, Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao, Partidong Manggagawa-Nagkakaisa and Sentro Nagkakaisa announced their unified protest which will take off at Orcullo’s Park here on 8 am.
They commit to mobilize at least 2,000 workers and other sectors.
The groups released a unity statement expressing their disappointment on Duterte who failed to fulfill his campaign promise to end contractualization or End of Contract (Endo), a widely-practiced labor policy where companies hire workers based on a six-month contract.
“We are disappointed. After two years of mass actions, dialogues and negotiations, amid the rising prices of basic commodities brought about by TRAIN, the supposed stopping of contractualization grounded to a halt. It dimmed the prospect of hope; the draft Executive Order which hurdled five revisions was abandoned and the president’s promise was passed on to Congress,” their statement said.
The groups recalled that in their previous three dialogues with the president regarding this issue, Duterte repeatedly said he doesn’t forget his promise.
Duterte even requested the labor groups to be part of the drafting of a new Executive Order to replace the existing Labor Department Order 174 that set new guidelines governing contracting and subcontracting of labor.
The dialogues happened on February 27, 2017; May 1, 2017 and February 7, 2018, prior to the groups’ submission of the draft EO to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
The labor group said their proposal recognizes “the need to balance the interest of labor and capital” but stressed the need to end all forms of labor-only contracting.
But Duterte did not sign the EO when it was submitted to him mid-April, as he passed the responsibility to Congress to pass legislation to end contractualization.
The groups do not accept the president’s statement that he cannot force businessmen to end contractualization. “The president has enough power to stop contractualization if he has the political will,” they said.
“If he has the courage to fix the erroneous trend and enforce justice, if he has concern for the workers and not with capitalists’ systematic exploitation, he can make contractualization stop,” said Carlo Olalo, KMU-SMR spokesperson.
Olalo said that the unity of various labor groups in the country is a manifestation of national solidarity of workers in their struggle, and their disappointment with the administration.
The groups said that in Davao City alone, 80 percent of the companies are hiring contractual workers.
They said the Department of Labor and Employee doesn’t even have complete data of workers’ status.
Joel Bañas of SENTRO-Nagkakaisa said that in Davao City, seven of ten employees in Holcim Philippines are contractual workers, while Coca-Cola FEMSA have less than 40 percent regular workers.
Olalo also said Coca-Cola failed to implement the DOLE order of regularizing their workers and even dismissed 675 workers nationwide, including 65 here in Davao City.
KMU also said DOLE STANFILCO’s 3,000 workforce comprise of 98% contractual workers. PLDT also has many contractual workers.
Olalo said that most companies hired workers through an agency, where they terminate the contracts before the EO 174 was implemented. This was the case in Nakashin Davao.
Aside from Davao City, other protest actions will take place in Mindanao. KMU-Northern Mindanao will lead a mobilization of 3,000 workers from Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Iligan City and Bukidnon.
Rallies are also set in General Santos City and Butuan City, said KMU. (davaotoday.com)