By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) expects an increase in the number of Filipinos leaving the country to work abroad to increase if the proposed measure extending the 6-month probationary employment period to two years becomes a law.
“If we allow this proposal become a law, the number of Filipinos wanting to work abroad will rise resulting to greater ‘brain drain’ with more children and families to suffer,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.
“Once the two-year probationary employment period is operationalized, wages are pegged low and social protection benefits kept inadequate which would prompt workers to look for greener pasture abroad by seeking higher wages and better benefits there despite of risks working abroad entails,” he added.
Under the current working conditions, Mendoza said 6,000 to 7,000 Filipinos are already leaving the country every day to work abroad.
The group renewed its opposition to House Bill 4802 authored by Probinsiyano Paty-List Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr., saying its “disadvantageous” to workers.
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“We are at a time when we are struggling to close the gap between the rich and the poor by eliminating this short-term Endo (end-of-contract) and to minimize all forms of contractualization employment scheme in the country and ensure a just and fair economic share for workers in a growing economy. But here comes HB 4802 that practically empowers abusive employment and business practice with a larger latitude and longer contractualization short-term work scheme,” Mendoza said.
“Extending the probationary employment period to two years is a race to the bottom scheme because it will improve the current widely practiced Endo labor slavery system and will make contractualized work permanent in the country. Probationary employees have no chances to raise their salary, better benefits, cannot join a union, and have no security of tenure, unable to make longer life plans and no capacity to make investments to a stable family,” he added.