TUCP: Philippines really among worst countries for workers

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

LABOR group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) immediately affirmed the finding of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) that the country is currently among the worst countries for workers.

TUCP president Democrito Mendoza said the ITUC was right on in saying that workers in the country are exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labor practices.

"TUCP confirms the findings of ITUC that Philippines is indeed one of the worst places to work in," said Mendoza in a statement.

The labor group noted how about 73 to 75 percent of the 39 million members of the labor force are not being regularized and are only contractual employees for an average of five months.

Also, Mendoza said some 85 percent of contractuals are not receiving lawful minimum wages and are also fired immediately from their jobs once they try to form a labor union.

"Without security of tenure, Filipino workers are also suffering from lack of social protection services provided by government," said Mendoza.

The TUCP also underscored that unemployment in the country is already at three million while underemployment is placed at seven million.

"In fact, we anticipate unemployment will rise to five million due to the fact that there are no new infrastructures to attract large and jobs-creating investments," Mendoza further said.

In its 2014 Global Rights Index, the ITUC ranked countries based on internationally recognized indicators to assess where workers' rights, such as democratic rights, decent wages, safer working conditions, and secure jobs, are best protected, in law and in practice.

The Philippines was placed in the "5" rated countries, which means that legislation protecting workers' rights are in place but that workers have effectively no access to such rights.

On the other hand, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) chose to downplay the results of the finding saying it does not describe the working condition in the country accurately.

"It does not necessarily concern the workers' rights since we don't have problems with other workers' rights. We can say the industry advocacy for workers in the country is very good," said Baldoz.

"In terms of quality of work in the country, I can say we are doing okay. Same goes with what they are saying about labor rights," she added.

The labor chief admitted that there remains the problem on extrajudicial killings of workers in the country.

She said this is the reason why Dole is already closely coordinating with the Department of Justice.

"Justice Secretary Leila de Lima already committed to fast track the investigation and hearing of extra judicial killings involving workers by creating special teams to prosecute," said Baldoz. (HDT/Sunnex)

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