by Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com), Jun 8, 2018
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been listed again as one of the worst countries for workers in the world by the International Trade Union Confederation’s 2018 Global Rights Index.
The world’s largest trade union federation stressed that despite collective efforts to achieve better wages and working conditions, workers in the Philippines still struggle to assert their basic right to associate freely and face violent opposition of employers.
“In a context of extreme state violence and suppression of civil liberties, workers and trade unionists in the Philippines faced threats and intimidation,” ICUP said.
It cited the arrest of transport leader George San Mateo in December 2017 just as he was about to post bail for a standing warrant for leading a transport strike in February of the same year.
ICUP said that employers use “intimidation tactics and dismissals to prevent workers from establishing unions,” citing the cases of intimidation and dismissal against the workers of Amertron Incorporated Philippines, Shin Sun Tropical Corp. and Sumitomo Fruit Company.
The trade union federation, moreover, slammed the country’s “repressive laws.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Labor Day signed an executive order prohibiting illegal contractualization. Workers, however, derided the EO as a mere reiteration of provisions already in existing laws to promote security of tenure and prevent unlawful dismissal.
The other worst countries for workers according to ICUP are Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Guatamela, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Last year, the Philippines was also included in the 10 worst nations for working people.
ICUP also identified Asia-Pacific as the second worst region in the world for workers’ rights.
It noted that the increase in violence, criminalization of the right to strike, arrest, detention and imprisonment of workers and violations of their rights contributed to the deterioration of the region.
The index ranked 142 countries against 97 internationally recognized indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected in law and in practice, ICUP said.