Irregular employment, low wages cause Pinoy workers’ stress

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Irregular employment, low wages cause Pinoy workersâ stress
Worker presses his forehead as he is seen at a road reblocking activity in Caloocan on Apr. 30, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Uncertainty of employment and low wages are causing high levels of stress among Filipino workers, organized labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said over the weekend.

FFW vice president Julius Cainglet said contractual work causes a lot of stress for workers in the Philippines and this stress “builds up on the fourth month and it just rises.”

“Imagine working your butt off, only to be kicked out on your fifth month of work simply because your employer is avoiding your regularization,” Cainglet said.

Under the Labor Law, an employee who had worked for six months for the same enterprise within the year shall be automatically regularized, he said.

Aside from contractual employment, Caingelt also attributed low wages, terrible traffic and the pandemic among other major factors leading to heightened stress levels for workers.

He said many workers are worried that they would not be able to provide for their families.

Workers are also constantly worried, he said, that they might bring the virus to their families when they go home after work.

Cainglet said there is also a distinct stress factor of having a horrible boss.

“Supervisors and managers who plan poorly on how the work is done, or who want to make employees under them on call 24/7 and assigning tasks during unholy hours give enormous stress to workers,” he pointed out.

He said the situation is worsened by the prevailing culture that frowns on criticism, even if delivered constructively and within the mechanisms that enterprises provide.

Based on the recent Gallup Survey contained in the “State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report,” Filipino workers are the most stressed at work in Southeast Asia.

Cainglet said the results of the Gallop Survey are “very alarming.”

“After the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the existence of ‘occupational burnout, stress and fatigue,’ the high level of stress of Filipino workers indicates that workers are likely not healthy at work at all,” Cainglet noted.

He emphasized the need for management to listen to workers and engage them. “This can only be realized through a social dialogue culture that could be facilitated by trade unions,” he said.

Trade unions, Cainglet said, may provide a venue for workers to discuss working conditions freely among themselves.

“It is a means to destress, especially when workers realize that they have fellow workers that can articulate well their issues and concerns with management,” Cainglet said.


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