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Child labor, flexible work belie Aquino’s claim of growth

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s claim that the economy is improving, citing the persistence of child labor and the spread of flexible work in the country’s manufacturing sector.

A recent International Labor Organization research showed that 2.4 million children from nine to 17 years old are employed in the country, while a recent Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics study showed 64.7% of manufacturing establishments have adopted flexible work arrangements.

Seeking to dispel allegations that he is “Noynoying” on the job, the president cited “improvements” in the economy, such as record highs in the stock market, ratings upgrades by international creditors, and efforts to attract foreign investors.

“The indicators cited by the president only show that big capitalists have full confidence in him and are having a grand time. These do not mean that the lives of workers and poor people are improving – as shown by data on child labor and flexible work,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The persistence of child labor shows not only the lack of employment opportunities for the poor, but the intensity of poverty in the country. The poor do not want to make their children work but they have no option amidst the grinding poverty and hunger,” he added.

Flexible work – such as rotating shift, compressed work week, working on-call, split shifts, job sharing, part-time work and “teleworking” – means workers work for eight hours each day in a work schedule that changes periodically.

“Manufacturing is the leading sector in the development of many countries. The spread of flexible labor there means not only that workers suffer from poor working conditions, but that that sector of the country’s economy is deeply unstable,” Labog said.

KMU said workers and poor people continue to suffer from measly wages, lack of job security, demolition of their homes and communities, and the rising prices of basic goods and services and petroleum products.

“Pres. Aquino cannot fool workers and the poor into thinking that the economy is improving. We know deep down in our stomachs that this isn’t true,” Labog said.

“With Pres. Aquino refusing to implement policies that will give us some form of relief, workers and poor people are in fact having a more difficult time. Unless he does something to control oil prices, raise wages, regularize jobs, and provide housing to the poor, many Filipinos will continue to believe that he is simply ‘Noynoying’ on the job,” he added.

Reference Person: 
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson
Contact information: 
0908-1636597

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