“Aquino’s contractualization real culprit for Kentex fire” ~LIGA  

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The Southern Tagalog-based Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA) today slammed Noynoy Aquino’s efforts to save-face his accountability for the Kentex tragedy, stressing that the “government’s widespread contractualization is the real blame for the death of workers.”

Recently, Aquino broke silence on the issue, cleared the liabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection and turned a blind-eye to the Department of Labor and Employment’s issuance of compliance of occupational safety standards to the Kentex factory.

Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of LIGA said that the continuing government disregard to workers’ rights in the country pave conditions for similar events to happen. He said that the Kentex fire which killed 72 workers is not an “accident” but a “symptom of an already rotten labor system”.

“Because labor laws such as the Herrera Law are used in favor of companies, factory owners take the advantage to gain more profit at the expense of the workers’ safety – which is most apparent on contractual workers. Because of contractualization, Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) are disregarded, occupational health and safety orientations are not given to workers, and factories become prone to hazardous incidents,” Velasquez said.

He cited the case of contractual workers of Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TDI) now on their 16th day of strike today at Cabuyao, Laguna. 397 of the contractual workers who have been working for TDI for 5 to 11 years now demand regularization because of low wages, absence of benefits and no job security. Velasquez said that the workers commonly get cuts from glass shards from shattered bottles because PPEs still have to be bought from the company instead of being freely provided to them. The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Region IV-A released proof that the TDI management has been practicing Labor Only Contracting through two subcontracting agencies.

“Public clamor is growing to put an end to subcontracting schemes done by agencies and all throughout junk contractualization. Under Aquino’s term, the labor situation in Southern Tagalog worsened with 70%-80% of workers in industrial zones remain contractual,” he said.

LIGA enjoined the efforts of the workers of the Laguna-based factories of Karzai Corp., Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp., Manila Cordiage Company and many others to fight for regularization as the first step to uplift labor conditions. #

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