Press Release
April 30, 2009

Loren presses just wages, workers' benefits

Senator Loren Legarda said today that workers all over the world will always see the May 1 Labor Day celebration as an opportune time to press for their rights, just wages and benefits, as well as for humane and fair treatment from employers.

"During economic booms or busts, one thing remains constant - the perpetual struggle of the working class to be afforded what is really due them. Labor Day is often reduced to a question of what workers can get in wage and non-wage benefits," said Loren.

"But as we face a severe global economic downswing, there is an urgent need to strike a balance between providing workers additional benefits and remunerations that would do justice to their contributions to enterprises, businesses or government operations, vis-a-vis profitability," she stressed.

The senator said "it is no longer a question of margins but of the very survival of enterprises that generate much-needed jobs. "Thus, a harmonious relationship between workers and employers is a must. There must be constant dialogue between them."

Loren said that the provisions of the Labor Code that protect the rights of workers must be fully implemented and for government regulatory agencies to be on their toes to move against excesses committed against workers.

"The Labor Code is one of the most important law of the land as it governs the relationship between workers and their employers, without which the former would be put at a great disadvantage."

"But sadly, even with the Labor Code being in effect for decades now, the exploitation of workers continue. This must stop," she said.

A common complaint of workers, according to Loren, is that some employers are using the present economic downswing as an excuse to take liberties on the provisions of the Labor Code.

The October 2008 Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that out of the estimated 58.2 million population 15 years old and above, 37.1 million are in the labor force for a participation rate of 63.7 percent.

"NSO's figures pegged at 93.2 percent the employment rate on the national level for the above-cited period, with government boasting that nine out of 10

Filipinos who are able to work are indeed working," said Loren.

"But labor groups would, of course, disagree with rosy government pictures, more so since it is not just a question of the numbers of the employed or partially employed, but of working conditions, wages and benefits."

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