DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 June) — Incoming Labor undersecretary Joel Maglungsod, whom President-elect Rodrigo Duterte vows to end contractualization of workers, push for an increase in wages and ensure that there will be P2,000 pension hike for the seniors from the Social Security System.
Maglungsod, described by Duterte as belonging to the Left and who “once upon a time went to the mountains to be a cadre of the New People’s Army,” told reporters at the “Malacañang of the South” on Thursday that he will immediately recommend to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte some proposals for workers’ economic relief after he assumes the presidency on June 30.
Maglungsod had also served as Anakpawis partylist Representative to Congress from 2007 to 2010 and Secretary-General of the Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Among his recommendations will be to scrap the DOLE’s Order 18-A which, he said, legalizes contractualization. Such order provides the regulations that govern “contracting and subcontracting arrangements.”
He said he would also push for the P750 minimum wage. Currently, the minimum wage in the Davao Region is P317, even less than the 30 percent of the Family Living Wage valued at P1,089.
“Dahil supportive naman si President-elect sa dagdag sahod, immediately mag-uusap kung ano pwede idagdag na sahod ng manggagawa (We will immediately talk how much should be added to the workers’ salary since President-elect is supportive of wage increase),” he said.
He believes that this is doable because “total production cost is a little bit 10 percent of the capitalists’ income.”
He said he would also call on Congress to pass the Regular Employment Bill to put an end to contractualization.
“Sa 14th Congress, ako naging Anakpawis representative, ako yung nag-author sa Regular Employment Bill. (I-propose) i-certify as urgent, pang kontra sa malawakang kontraktualisasyon (During 14th Congress, I was Anakpawis representative and author of the Regular Employment Bill. I will propose to certify it as urgent to counter the massive contractualization),” he said.
Under his term, he said he would ensure and protect the workers’ rights, both domestic and overseas, to just living wages, to security of tenure, to organize and form units, and to strike.
Carlo Olalo, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Southern Mindanao, said the government’s labor policies such as the Wage Rationalization Law prevented the workers from getting “meaningful wage increase.”
“We welcome the triumph of the workers in making contractualization a primary election issue this year but the relevant question really is, will any of the Presidential bets overturn the past and present regimes’ adherence to neoliberal dictates when it comes to labor? If not, the promise of ending contractualization remains a hollow one,” he said.
Maglungsod also hit the P5 to P15 increase in wages by DOLE, saying that these are but token benefits for the workers which are “rendered insignificant with the price increases, inflation and the people’s consistently declining purchasing power.”
“Contractual workers are also deprived of their right to unionize and demand benefits through collective bargaining, in violation of ILO (International Labour Organization) Convention 87 and 98,” he said.
The ILO Convention 87 ensures the freedom of association and protection of the right to organize while the ILO Convention 98 ensured workers of adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)