The Philippines lags behind achieving decent work

Unionists show solidarity with over 11,000 ABS-CBN workers facing threats of displacement after the Duterte government shutdown the media giant. Photo by Neil Ambion.

The country falls further behind on the Decent Work Agenda, according to Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).

Citing ITUC Global Rights Index 2020 and Global Witness Report, EILER noted that the Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous countries for workers, and the second-worst worldwide for environmental and land rights defenders.

“The trade unions are vital in reviving the economy, but our unions are under attack. They are victims of union busting, red tagging, harassment, and the many barriers in organizing and exercise of freedom of association. These violent attacks on workers and trade unionists amid the pandemic also affect workers’ organizations and labor institutions leading local responses, specifically working towards addressing the abovementioned global effects of COVID-19 to employment and livelihood. We are, at present, farther from achieving the Decent Work Agenda and sustainable economy,” EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

EILER also cited the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work 5th Edition report stating that over 400 million full-time jobs have been lost and hundred millions of informal workers have lost their livelihoods globally. This means that millions more of workers are pushed further into extreme poverty.

“As the global employment crisis deepens, women and young workers are hit the hardest. More and more youths are forced to engage in irregular, precarious or intermittent employment. In the Philippines, rampant contractualization, the two-tier wage system, inadequate decent job opportunities, and lack of access to free education have prevented the youth to break away from vulnerable employment,” Porras said.

“The effects of the pandemic on regular employment, living wages, gender equality and occupational safety and health are worsened by neoliberal globalization. We must do away with neoliberal policies and prioritize acting on the legitimate demands of the workers including free mass testing, guaranteed income, social protection, and upholding of freedom of association, collective bargaining rights, OSH and other labor rights,” Porras concluded.


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