TUCP says low
pay, poor benefits, low regard, work abroad causing shortage of
Associated Labor Unions
February 15, 2019
QUEZON CITY –
Treated poorly with low pay, meager benefits, unsafe and unhealthy
working conditions, poor access to certification are some of the
reasons why the country is having shortage of Filipino construction
workers amid a great number of potential construction manpower, said
the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
President Duterte the
other day said there is delay in government’s P8 Trillion
government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program from 2017 to
2022 due to shortage of construction workers.
“We are currently
experiencing “skill and brain drain” phenomenon because of this bad
treatment of our construction workers. The nation is losing fast its
vast and excellent reserves of construction manpower to higher pay
and attractive benefits offered by companies abroad,” said TUCP
President Raymond Mendoza.
Based on different government statistics, the TUCP estimates there
are 3 million construction workers nationwide and only around 1
million of them are certified.
“It’s true that we have
shortage of construction workers. Though we have plenty of
certified, skilled and world class construction workers but due to
meager salary, poor benefits, unsafe and unhealthy working
conditions and lowly regarded workers they prefer to work abroad
after a few months of training and actual field experience here
because they are dignified there, they are given higher salary and
benefits there, and are given free decent housing and paid
vacation,” said TUCP President Raymond Mendoza.
Mendoza said the
government’s expensive, inadequate training facilities and access to
certification programs for construction jobs also contributes to
shortage of workers in the industry.
“We have a vast pool of
highly, multi-skilled and fine craftsmen but also because of lack of
training facilities and poor access to certification programs we do
not tap them to become potentials for the country’s build, build,
build programs. Many of them even have to pay, fall in long line and
travel far just to access national certification,” Mendoza.
The TUCP is also proposing
to raise the minimum wage for construction workers from the current
minimum of P500 a day to a minimum P800 a day, improve their
benefits, and raise their working and resting living standards.
“Construction workers even
purchase their own personal protective equipment used in working,
buy their own drinking water, pay for their food intake during work
break to replenish strength, and given a dirty and bad sleeping
quarters during the whole duration of the construction project,”
Project owners and
contractors also try to improve their profits by cutting costs on
safety equipment devices and protocols causing workplace accident
deaths, diseases and injuries.
“There seems to be no
pride and no dignity being a construction worker nowadays. But
President Duterte’s Build, Build, build program is an opportunity to
address that and raise the dignity of our construction working
people through a functioning and sustained government policy,”