Church people urge candidates to address labor issues

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Young people look at job listings at the 2014 Labor Day Job Fair at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, 1 May 2014. (Photo: CBCP News)

MANILA, Feb. 27, 2016— Church-based groups are calling on candidates for national posts to heed labor rights issues especially those affecting the young workers.

Errol Alonzo, chairperson of Young Christian Workers-Philippines (PYCW), said that young workers today are faced with many challenges amid high unemployment rate and “intensifying precarity of work.”

Young workers and church people gathered at a forum on Saturday at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila to raise out their concerns on labor issues.

“We organized this event for the young workers voice out their concerns and build an agenda especially in the context of national elections,” Alonzo said.

He said that young workers are bound to bear the “heaviest brunt of exploitative policies” instituted by the Aquino government like the two-tier wage system that effectively lowers wage rates across sectors and regions in the country.

Alonzo also criticised a policy of the Department of Labor and Employment that further legitimizes contractual work.

“With this activity we express our unity in challenging all these neoliberal policies that stunt the development of the youth and deprive them of their right to decent work and life with dignity,” he said.

“We believe that only with empowered and dignified young workers, can any government boast of meaningful growth and real development for the people” Alonzo added.

The group also opposed the full implementation of K to 12 saying the Filipino youth is being trained “to become semi-skilled sources of cheap labor both for the benefit of big companies here and abroad.”

Aside from the PYCW, the “Young workers Speak Out” forum was organized by the Church People–Workers Solidarity, the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), in partnership with the PUP-Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations. (CBCPNews)

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