Workers await Rody’s surprise Labor Day gift

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Will President Duterte finally issue an executive order banning all forms of contractualization?

Workers are expecting the Chief Executive to issue such an order as his “surprise Labor Day gift” to the employment sector.

Associated Labor Union (ALU) spokesman Alan Tanjusay said millions of workers are awaiting a major announcement from Duterte tomorrow, Labor Day.

“The eyes and ears of the working class are all focused on the President’s first Labor Day speech. May 1 is the perfect day for him to act point-blank on the issue raised by labor groups,” Tanjusay said.

Workers are clamoring for Duterte to make good on his promise to end the abusive contractualization work scheme and to see him fulfill his mantra to challenge the Philippine oligarchy that controls 99 percent of our country’s wealth, according to Tanjusay.

He said workers have remained optimistic that the President will heed their demand since he is set to hold a private dialogue with labor leaders before the grand Labor Day celebration.

Tanjusay said Duterte is meeting labor leaders in private in a makeshift tent just behind the stage of the People’s Park auditorium. After the meeting, he would address the larger group of workers attending the Labor Day celebration at the People’s Park in Davao City.

“My reading is he wanted to share with labor leaders first the ‘surprise’ gift he wants to tell workers before he makes the announcement (to a) larger audience. We do not exactly know what Mr. Duterte would say. But his first Labor Day speech tomorrow (will be) crucial to workers,” Tanjusay disclosed.

“If Mr. Duterte says something significant, he will be embraced and loved by workers forever. Otherwise, workers will think of him as someone who is like the previous presidents,” he added.

Tanjusay said the primary demand of workers is for Duterte to fulfill his promise to ban contractualization and raise the wages of workers.

“The short-term contractualization form of work drives underemployment figures because of poor wage, inadequate social protection benefits and no security of tenure,” he explained.

Tanjusay said about 20,000 workers are marching to Mendiola tomorrow to pressure the President to heed their demands.

But Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said Duterte cannot go against the law and issue an order banning all forms of contractualization.

Bello stressed that a law must be enacted to ban all forms of contractualization. He said, however, that he is personally against a total ban on contractualization, since it could lead to closure of firms and adversely affect the country’s economy. – With Eva Visperas

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