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Workers group: Cheap labor demand has started to surge

The workers group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said Monday many licensed, registered and fly-by-night manpower service providers were resorting to illegal contracting and sub-contracting labor workers.

This, under the noses of the regional labor inspectors of the Department of Labor and Employment as high demand for workers started to rise this holiday season.

The ALU-TUCP  said the demand for cheap labor and short-term seasonal workers had started to surge last week as food manufacturing, agri-business, department stores, hotels, restaurants, security, transport, logistics industries including across supply chains both in the formal and informal economy started to heat up for high spending demand for Christmas and new year season. 

“Around 1.5 to two-million contractual and seasonal workers is being bidded around this time as additional reinforcement to businesses’ existing mixed of contractualized and regular workforce to meet the Christmas and new year season demand for production and services in key cities across the country,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said

He said the group conducted interviews with agency-hired workers,  and noticed that there was an upsurge trend for cheap skilled and unskilled seasonal, temporary and on-call workers in the labor market in time for the Christmas and new year.

In the National Capital Region where demand for seasonal workers is the highest, the ALU-TUCP discovered that women workers, regardless of the skill level, are paid less compared to men. Women seasonal workers are bidded and bought for P300 salary a day while men are waged P400 a day in spite of the standard P537 daily minimum wage for Metro Manila.

 “It’s the manpower agency or the middlemen who profits the most by selling labor contracts by ‘pakyaw’ or two to three months seasonal workers with 10 percent to 15 percent marked up in contract price with the principal business owners and while 20 to 25 percent cut in every workers’ daily salary,” Tanjusay said.

 These workers are sent to department stores, restaurants, hotels as assistant salesladies, sales clerk, promodizers, dishwashers, waiters, customer assistants, gift wrappers, packers, sorters, and cleaners.  

Other workers are sent to remote warehouses as sorters and packers in Metro Manila, Bulacan and Cavite provinces. 

Others are hired as internal and external security personnel in hotels and department stores.

Other workers are sent to work as drivers, motorcycle drivers, delivery men, transporters, packers and sorters in online retail and food buy-and-sell industries, Tanjusay said.

Hiring of contractual, “pakyaw” and seasonal jobs is allowed under existing law. 

However, these workers must be regular and directly-hired to middlemen manpower agencies and are paid with the mandated and lawful minimum wages and social protection benefits.

However, had President Rodrigo Duterte not vetoed the anti-Endo (end-of-contract) Bill, tripartite industrial bodies would determine which job are regular and which are seasonal or contractual.

Under existing implementing rules and regulation of the labor Code provision on job contracting, employers and business owners solely determine which jobs are necessary and desirable for regular jobs and the temporary, short-term jobs.  

Topics: Associated Labor Unions , Trade Union Congress of the Philippines , Department of Labor and Employment
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