Addressing labor issues will help workers cope with inflation — CHR

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THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday said the government should cooperate with more representatives from the labor sector to address workers’ issues to help cushion the impact of rising food and fuel prices and overall inflation. 

“CHR hopes for the continue prioritization of worker’s dignity and plight,” it said in a statement. “May their efforts amplify labor concerns through organization and assembly not be maligned, but instead be seen as an opportunity for mutual benefit and cooperation”.  

The rights agency also acknowledged the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) commitment to ratify a treaty of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which would require the inspection of industrial workplaces.  

The ILO’s Convention 81 would require the government to hire technical experts to assess industrial workplaces for health and safety, proper wages, working hours and abuses. 

DTI Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty earlier said his agency is working on ratifying the treaty to improve worker safety. 

“Ratifying the treaty is aligned with the government’s obligation to improve the people’s enjoyment of their economic, social, and culture rights, particularly by granting full protection to worker’s right to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and a just and human working condition through a robust system of labor inspection,” the CHR said.   

Job quality in the country continued to worsen in September as Filipinos seeking more work rose to a six-month high of 15.4% or 7.33 million underemployed workers, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Tuesday.  

However, the unemployment rate that month dropped to 5%, a new low since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Workers still need higher wages to cope with the rising prices of food and utilities, Federation of Free Workers Vice-President Julius H. Cainglet told BusinessWorld in a telephone call on Tuesday.  

Headline inflation increased to 7.7% in October from 6.9% in September, the quickest increase in nearly 14 years. — John Victor D. Ordoñez