Robredo, labor groups forge covenant on quality jobs, living wage and job security

Published November 29, 2021, 1:48 PM

by Betheena Unite

Vice President Leni Robredo and various labor leaders backing her presidential bid came up with a “vision” and a covenant in pursuing several labor agendas in the country once the opposition leader wins the election in May 2022.

(Screengrab from Robredo People’s Council Facebook page)

Robredo and the Alliance of Labor Leaders for Leni (ALL4LENI) on Monday, Nov. 29, signed a labor covenant that serves as a “vision of a Robredo presidency.”

The agreement contains several advocacies such as promotion of quality jobs, providing a “living wage” incomes for the working people, social protection through public services, improving trade union and political rights, and consultation.

Aspiring Senator Sonny Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers and Spokesperson of ALL4LENI presented the contents of the covenant during the signing event.

He explained that the agenda on the promotion of secure and quality jobs, including green and climate jobs, seeks for the passage of a Security Tenure Bill in the Congress, and other related proposed laws and policies “that will ensure and strengthen job securityfor workers both in private and public sectors and eliminate ot curb the rampant use and abuse of contractualization.”

They also agreed on mulling a “robust public employment program” to provide guaranteed jobs for the unemployed and guaranteed incomes for those unable to work and wage subsidies to provide jobs when needed.

Part of this agenda is the creation of climate jobs in response to the worsening global problems and employment based on just transition from the current carbon or fossil fuel-centered economy to renewable energy or low-carbon economy.

Moreover, Robredo’s vision for Filipino workers includes the plan to “increase the meager wages of employees” to bring the minimum wage closer to a “living wage” for all types of workers.

Increase in funding for public services, including expanding the coverage of universal health care, free education, public housing, and public energy based in renewable resources are also part of the agenda. They also seek to reform and invest in public transport system by institutionalizing service contracting, pushing for a just transition for transport workers through a higher equity subsidy for the public utility vehicle modernization program, promoting active transport through protected bike lanes, and improving transport infrastructure and mass transit system that prioritize people and nature.

The labor vision also includes improving trade union and political rights by “thoroughly investuvating all cases of killings” to end extrajudicial killings, “especially of trade unionists, social activitists, and journalists.”

It also seeks to push for a full trade union rights, including the right to strike and collectively bargain, for government employees.

According to Matula, Robredo added the consultation on the list of agendas to establish a regular meet between the government and labor groups to discuss labor and social advocacies and what measures must be done if problems in the implementation of certain policies and programs arise.

Matula said Robredo personally included the consultation in the agenda to involve the labor groups in the implementations of program.

During the signing of the covenant, the labor leaders reiterated their support to Robredo’s presidential bid.

“Alam namin kasama kayo ng maraming manggagawa sa maraming taon at alam namin na hindi mo kami iiwan sa laban na ito at siyempre, pinapaalam namin sa iyo na hindi ka rin iiwan ng kilusang manggagawa sa darating na Mayo 2022 (We know that you are with the workers for many years and we know that you will not leave us behind in this fight and we convey to you that the labor groups will not leave you behind this coming May 2022),” Matula said.

Aside from Robredo and Matula, labor leaders from the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Partido Manggagawa, National Union of Bank Employees, Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong, Nagkaisa! Women’s Committee, and Luzon National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry in the Philippines also signed the labor covenant.