February 24, 2024

Labor group meets Laguesma to discuss urgent labor concerns

IN commemoration of the 101st birthday of our founding president, Juan C. Tan, the Governing Board of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) held a productive meeting with Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The FFW Governing Board has wholeheartedly expressed its unwavering support for DOLE’s critical mission to create meaningful, high-quality job opportunities for our workforce. This commitment comes at a pivotal moment as our nation grapples with the challenge of increasing unemployment.

The Philippine Statistics Office reported last week that self-employed workers increased by 1.89 million, and unpaid family workers rose by 1.85 million. However, the increase in salary and wage workers, considered as high-quality jobs, was only 87,000.

Despite the slight improvement in employment, the quality of employment remains a paramount concern.

Secretary Laguesma, during the meeting, emphasized DOLE’s unwavering dedication not only to job creation but also to ensuring that these jobs offer dignity and security to Filipino workers. He urged trade unions and employers’ groups to unite and support this pivotal initiative.

“At DOLE, our primary challenge is not just job creation but the creation of decent and high-quality jobs. These are the building blocks of our Labor and Employment Plan (LEP). Hopefully, with the support of trade unions, some of these dreams will become a reality,” Secretary Laguesma stated.

DOLE’s Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) is already in motion, and its impact will be further enhanced through the establishment of the Trabaho para sa Bayan Inter-agency Council. This council, comprising representatives from both workers and employers, will be chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the newly enacted Trabaho para sa Bayan Act.

Secretary Laguesma stressed the necessity for collective action as the nation prepares for an expected increase in unemployment next year.

FFW is acutely aware of this challenge as the employment outlook for the coming year is not very promising. According to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Philippines is projected to experience a rise in the unemployment rate. The IMF forecasts that the country’s unemployment rate, currently at 4.7 percent, is expected to increase to 5.1 percent next year.

The FFW recognizes the urgency of this situation and is firmly committed to working closely with the government, DOLE, and other stakeholders to create opportunities, promote employment, and improve the well-being of the working people.

“It is essential to address the challenges posed by contractualization and labor-only contracting to ensure that our workforce can thrive and contribute to the nation’s prosperity,” added FFW National Vice President Jun M. Ramirez.