Leaders of the Movement of Women Workers call on President Rodrigo Duterte to totally ban contractual labor during a forum in Quezon City on Feb. 8. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
A leading Philippine bishop has backed calls by labor groups to halt the practice of "contractualization" of labor in the country.
Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila called on the government to "stand by its commitment" to stop contractual labor during the first year of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Before his election, Duterte promised to end labor-only contracting that does not benefit ordinary workers.
Bishop Pabillo said jobs may be available "but it will be useless because of the 'end of contract' policy" that is being practiced by most companies.
"Our economy will not improve and will not be inclusive if that policy still exists," said the prelate, adding that if the government wants to fight poverty, it should stop the contractual labor scheme.
Avic Gerodias, spokeswoman of the Movement of Women Workers, said that instead of stopping the scheme, the government has introduced "policies that worsen the situation."
Labor groups are opposing a government order that allows contractual employment through manpower agencies.
The order allows employers to keep 40 percent of its workforce "contractual," without the benefits provided by the labor law, while 60 percent are "regular workers."
"Our call is to abolish all forms of contractual labor," said Gerodias, adding that the new scheme does not resolve the problem.
There were at least 850,000 contractual workers in the country in 2016, according to data from the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors Inc.
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