“Unlawful contractualization keeps the workers from secure, gainful and lasting employment. It is also a way for employers to shirk from its duties and obligation toward it employees,” the Commission on Human Rights said.
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CHR reminds pearl shake chain to uphold workers' rights
(Philstar.com) - July 12, 2019 - 4:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — The workers of a pearl shake chain are within their rights to protest alleged contractualization and oppressive labor practices at the company, the Commission on Human Rights said as it urged businesses to always uphold the dignity and rights of laborers.

Jacqueline De Guia, CHR spokesperson, made the statement after workers of Zagu Food Corp. went on strike to protest the company’s “illegal labor-only contracting and unfair labor practices.”

“In a system where the business flourishes while the workers that made it grow are deprived of the benefits of permanent employment, it is clear that the welfare and rights of the laborers are not upheld,” De Guia said.

She added: “Unlawful contractualization keeps the workers from secure, gainful and lasting employment. It is also a way for employers to shirk from its duties and obligation toward it employees.”

"The commission recognizes that there is a need to strike a healthy balance such that inclusive economic growth will be maintained by ensuring that business will continue to thrive. However, this is not a justification to denigrate the working Filipinos with oppressive labor practices that trap them in poor working conditions and mire them into economic uncertainty or poverty," CHR also said.

"The State and businesses alike must always uphold the dignity and rights of workers who are the foundation of the economy that sustain us all," it said.

On Labor Day in 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 51, which prohibited labor contracting “when undertaken to circumvent the workers’ rights to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities pursuant to the 1987 Constitution.”

Some labor groups, however, are not satisfied with the order, saying the Labor Code already covers the EO’s provisions on labor-only contracting.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Monday appealed to the management of Zagu to respect the rights of workers who went on strike.

Sotto, in a Faecbook post, said he visited the picketline because of reports of violence against striking workers.

"This strike would not have happened if you didn't have employees who have been with you for more than 10 years but are still contractuals," he said in Filipino.

"There would not have been a strike if there were proper negotiations. Follow the law, respect the rights of your workers," Sotto also said.

The International Trade Union Confederation recently listed the Philippines as one of the worst countries for workers for the third year in a row.

The world’s largest trade union stressed that workers in the Philippines face violent attacks and intimidation and that protests in the country are “brutally repressed” by police in an alleged attempt by the government to suppress dissent.

ITUC also gave the Philippines a rating of five, which means that “while the legislation may spell out certain rights, workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labor practice.” — Gaea Katreena Cabico


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