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Unions in Philippines call on President to stop contractualization

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13 October, 2016IndustriALL Philippine affiliates rallied side by side with contractual and agency workers on 7 October, the world day for decent work, which also marked the first 100 days of President Rodrigo Duterte's period in office. 

The groups gathered to show full force and express their sentiments on the slow implementation of the earlier labour policy pronouncements made by President Duterte.

President Duterte’s promises to reduce contractualization by half this year and to totally eliminate the system in 2017 gave workers high hopes. Unfortunately, after 100 days in power, there has been no real changes to improve the lives of Filipinos compelled to work on contractual basis, said IndustriALL unions in the Philippines.

During the protest, the group released the results of IndustriALL commissioned research on the impact of precarious work, conducted on August 2015.  The study says precarious work in the Philippines has serious social consequences on workers, their families and communities including inhumane family life conditions; conscious sacrifices by workers on very basic needs, such as food, in order to set aside some money to send children to school; willingness to grab any opportunity to earn a little additional income regardless of working conditions and exhaustion; and ignoring illness and health problems to avoid absence from work and the consequent loss of income, among others.

While most of the study respondents were garment sector workers of the Cavite Export Processing Zone, anecdotal evidence reveals that the same realities exist across industries, sectors and geographical locations.

The results of the study were personally handed over to labour officials by the IndustriALL leadership. Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod of the Department of Labour and Employment listened to the views of the leaders particularly on the issue of contractualization and proposal to increase maternity leave to 120 days and for the ratification of ILO maternity protection Convention.