MANILA – With graduation season hovering in March, youth group Anakbayan denounced the Aquino administration’s continuing anti-worker and anti-youth policy of contractualization which the group says will hit new graduates the most.
“This March, many students will happily receive their diplomas. But they will soon find out the struggle isn’t over as they face unemployment, bad working conditions, low wages, and contractualization,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
Donning togas and graduation attires, Anakbayan members held placards and mock diplomas bearing the lines “unemployed”, “job order”, “agency”, “cheap labor”, and “contractual”, among others to dramatize the plight of new graduates as they begin looking for jobs.
“New graduates are deprived of a bright future as contractualization becomes so prevalent in both the public and private sector that up to 90% of all workers in the country are now contractual workers,” said Crisostomo.
His group lamented that the so-called “real world” awaiting the new graduates under the contractualized labor system is a world of 5-month contracts, low wages, and the absence of benefits, job security, and the right to organize and form unions.
He said the Aquino administration has worsened the lot of workers by continuing policies like the 1973 Marcos-era Labor Code, Herrera Law, DOLE Order No. 18-A Series of 2011, and Executive Order 366 which legitimize contractualization.
“Contractualization is an affront to youth and workers rights by denying job security, an eight-hour regular daily work day, pushing down wages, and prohibiting unions and associations. All contractual workers must be regularized,” said Crisostomo.
The youth group also slammed DOLE for attributing unemployment and underemployment to the much-hyped “job-skills mismatch” in order to conceal the responsibility of the Aquino administration for the worsening lot of jobless youth and workers.
“By pinning down the so-called mismatch, they effectively blame new graduates for not pursuing in-demand courses. But the problem is precisely the government’s labor-export orientation which only seeks to supply whatever is needed by foreign capital,” he said.
“When nursing was in-demand, the government also pushed schools to offer nursing. Today many nursing graduates are forced to get other jobs. Now we have the K-12 to cater to foreign demand for caregivers, domestic helpers, welders, for cheap labor in general,” he added.
Instead of simply supplying the forever shifting cheap labor demand of foreign countries and corporations, the youth leader said the government would do better by pushing a program of national industrialization to generate much needed jobs inside the country. [BicolToday.com]