Published: July 21, 2012
One day before Pres. Noynoy Aquino delivers his State of the Nation Address, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the president’s job generation program, saying this has worsened the plight of the country’s workers.
Observers predict that the president will boast about the one million jobs created between April 2011 and April 2012 in his speech.
“The president’s employment program is actually the promotion of low-quality work. It is beneficial to big capitalists but is disastrous for the country’s workers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The Aquino government is spreading the illusion that promoting low-quality work will entice capitalists to invest in the country and create more jobs. What we are seeing is a slight increase in employment and an immense decline in the situation of workers,” he added.
“The president has refused to significantly increase wages, junk contractualization, ensure that benefits mandated by law are given to workers, and uphold trade-union rights. The situation of the country’s workers is so bad, he refused to even mention the word ‘workers’ in his 2011 SONA,” he said.
KMU cited a research by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing a “drastic deterioration in the quality of jobs” in the country, with a 1.6-million reduction in the number of full-time workers and a 2.5-million increase in number of part-time workers from April 2011 to April 2012.
Part-time work is usually “low-paying, insecure and without benefits,” Ibon Foundation said.
“Workers aren’t asking for too much when we say that having a job is not enough. What workers and poor people want is decent employment,” Labog said.
Ibon Foundation also states that the minimum wage in Metro Manila is at present only 44 per cent of the Family Living Wage in the region, lower than the 53 per cent in May 2002.
“Workers are in a worse situation now than we were 10 years ago. The real value of wages has decreased, contractual employment has further spread, and trade-union rights have been severely curtailed,” Labog said.
“We are calling on all workers to join the people’s protest in time for the president’s third SONA. We have to act and put pressure on the Aquino government to attain the reforms that we badly need,” he added.