July 10, 2010
A gathering of some 100 labor leaders and trade unionists yesterday afternoon resolved to engage the government of President Noynoy Aquino in the demand to defend job security and stop the proliferation of contractualization schemes. The labor forum was sparked by the ongoing labor dispute at the Philippines Airlines in which the PAL Employees’ Association (PALEA) is fighting management’s alleged illegal contracting out of regular work.
Gerry Rivera, PALEA president, said that “We welcome the solidarity of the different labor groups in our fight against contractualization at PAL. We pledge too to support the common call of reforming the policy on contractualization.” The groups which attended the forum plan to mobilize for the coming State of the Nation Address to highlight the demand against labor contractualization.
Rivera added that “We appreciate P-Noy’s order for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to review and evaluate the midnight decision on the PAL dispute. The PAL dispute will not only be a litmus test of the Aquino government’s handling of labor management relations. It will also be an acid test of the task of cleansing the DOLE of corrupt officials and reforming the policy on labor contractualization.”
Renato Magtubo, chairperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), explained that “The epidemic of contractualization is a result of failure in both policy and enforcement. There are glaring loopholes in the law that have been abused by employers to wipe out regular jobs and replace them with contractual workers that have less in wages and benefits and enjoy no security of tenure. Management is allowed by law to contract out jobs that are necessary and desirable to the business of the company. This has been interpreted to mean that practically all jobs can be outsourced, not just janitorial or security services. Thus you find factories and malls in which contractual workers outnumber regular workers several times over while all do the same job.”
Magtubo argued that “We are challenging P-Noy to make concrete his promise that democracy should work for all by certifying a set of pro-labor reform bills as urgent in his SONA. We welcome the 22-point labor platform of the Aquino administration as announced by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. The 22-point platform is a good first step and militant workers are open to engaging with new President and the new Labor Secretary to make the promise of reform a reality.”
The labor forum was hosted by the Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon ng Pilipinas (MKP), the union of PLDT rank-and-file workers, at their office in Crossing, Mandaluyong. Aside from PALEA and MKP, other groups such as the PM, Makabayan, Alliance of Progressive Labor, United Filipino Service Workers, Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations, United Cavite Workers Association, Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Paranaque, Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Antipolo and the former union of PNCC employees the joined the forum.