On the National Women’s Day on October 28, women workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno will be marching together with women of other sectors to call for an end to contractualization.
“Contractualization is a bane to all workers. It has meant lower wages, no benefits, consistent threat of being laid off from work, and no union rights,” said Nenita “Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU vice-chairperson for women’s affairs.
KMU cited the case of “Rory,” who worked as a saleslady in the biggest department store chain, SM, owned by Henry Sy – again the richest businessman in the country according to Forbes Magazine’s June 2011 issue.
According to her, contractual workers hired in SM through an agency have a 0ne-month c0ntract only, worse than the usual five- to six-month contract. In 2002, nine out of 10 workers in SM are contractuals, hired through agencies or concessionaires.
Rory was a “roving saleslady.” She had to report for work at SM branches in the Mall of Asia, Glorietta and Novaliches for alternate days. She paid for her travel expenses every day and the company would only reimburse at the end of the month. She also had to spend for her work uniforms which include a pair of rubber shoes worth P3,000 and attire worth P1,500.
She was also required to work overtime for two hours, for which she was paid with a meager P64 per hour. She was thus forced to not renew her contract after a month.
SM women contractuals
“Contractual women workers suffer even more. They are treated as commodity,” said Gonzaga.
“Sa SM naman at iba pang department store, hindi ka tatanggapin kapag hindi ka maganda, kapag hindi ka makapal mag-make-up. Madali kang masisilipan dahil napakaikli ng suot. Parang kami ang ginagawang pambenta,” said Rory.
(In SM and other department stores, you won’t get hired if you’re not beautiful, if you won’t use heavy make-up. People can easily see through your body because you wear skimply clothes. It is as if we are both selling and being sold.)
She also affirmed that women workers either get terminated when they get pregnant and are thereby denied of maternity benefits.
“Women workers have to fight contractualization, which the Aquino regime is aggressively promoting. We urge women workers to fight for their rights and demand decent jobs with living wages in the country,” said Gonzaga. Nenita “Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU Vice Chairperson for Women’s Affairs