Workers call on gov’t for stable opportunities

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Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, OP, rector of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Central Seminary gives his opening remarks during the Church Workers Forum, April 19, held at the Institute of Preaching, Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City. [Pio Antonio Bellen/CBCPNews

MANILA, April 21, 2013—In a forum held for workers at the Institute of Preaching in Sto. Domingo Church, workers presented a 10-point agenda urging government to provide stable opportunity for the country’s labor force. 

Mr. Elmer Labog, co-chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) called on government to give priority on the 10-point program for workers that include high wages; end of contractualization and upholding workers security of tenure; defense of worker’s right to form unions; strike and collectively bargaining; safer working conditions; full provision of social protection for workers; decent jobs; end to neo-liberal policies; increase in government spending for social services; urban poor rights to housing and livelihood; and promotion of women workers’ right. 

“Having a wage increase will help bring current wage levels closer to the living wage. For years, the prices of basic goods and services have soared while wages were given major adjustments. Wages must be made to catch up with soaring prices. This will help in having a stable income,” he explained. 

“With an end in contractualization, it will help workers to feel safe because their tenure is secure. Workers need to have safer working conditions by ensuring that standards on occupational health and safety are observed in workplaces. And with full provision of social protection to workers and complete granting of benefits specified by the law like SSS and PhilHealth, workers and the government will have a good serving relationship,” Labog added. 

He stressed that generating decent jobs through crafting and implementing a program for national industrialization and land reform will be of great help to them. 

Workers also need an increase in government spending for social services like health, education, and housing. 

More than a hundred lay leaders, members of workers’ community, Church people including religious nun and other Churches attended the workers forum organized by CWS in preparation for the upcoming Labor Day event on May 1. (Jandel Posion with reports from Czarinah Chavez)  

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