Published: January 24, 2012
“The latest ILO report only affirms the sad truth about the employment environment in the country, and once again, puts into question the Aquino government’s claim of unemployment decline in the year 2011.”
This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno referring to the report recently released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) indicating that four out of every ten Filipino workers are in “vulnerable employment” conditions.
In its report titled “Global Employment Trends 2012: Preventing a deeper jobs crisis,” the ILO said that the country is constrained by the “large number of workers who are in poor quality and low-paid jobs, with intermittent and insecure work arrangements and poor working conditions.”
“Vulnerable – the word simply summarizes the kind of employment the Aquino government is promoting in the country,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Workers here receive a minimum wage equivalent to only 2/5 of the daily cost of living of a family of six. Contractualization, which allows employers to terminate workers anytime, presses down wages beyond the minimum wage and prohibits workers from joining unions, became even more rampant last year,” said Soluta.
“Workers get employed in the most dangerous, health-compromising and difficult jobs in industries such as mining, construction and shipbuilding. Such are the key areas of Aquino’s Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016,” added Soluta.
KMU also said that the ILO report discredits the Aquino government’s announcement of unemployment decline in the country for the year 2011. Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics’ (BLES) data showed that the unemployment rate in 2011 averaged 7 per cent, improving from the previous year’s 7.4 per cent.
“It was low-quality jobs that boosted the employment figures,” said Soluta.
In December last year, Benjamin E. Diokno of the UP School of Economics also expressed his concern whether quality employment improved after the unemployment in the country hit a four-year low of 6.4 percent in October. Diokno said that the number of unpaid family workers and part-time workers soared.
KMU reiterated its call for the Aquino government to provide decent jobs and wages, junk contractualization and uphold the basic rights of workers.
“Only a pro-people development of the country’s industries and agriculture can provide decent employment to Filipinos in a sustainable way,” said Soluta.