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The “endo” issue and precarious work under BBM

Legal restrictions and violations of trade union rights, such as the right to organize and to bargain collectively are widespread. This affects trade unions’ ability to organize, to represent and to service workers.

 Different factors also come into play in this situation like: marginalization, replacement, dualization and revitalization. Expectedly, the anti-endo bill under Pres. Marcos, Jr. is a tough issue considering that businesses are still grappling with economic losses due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Whereas the trade unions during the coronavirus disease have laid the basic and simple dimensions of decent work deficits in the world of work, workers have also reckoned with trade unions to enhance job as well as access to social protection.

 President BBM has a lot of time. The old version of the “endo-bill” was vetoed by former President Duterte towards the end of his term due to the strong lobby perpetuated by businesses and employers.

“Approving it into law would be detrimental to the country’s economy and would create unemployment problem”, the business sector echoed in unison. Obviously, the employers always maintain that the labor market works best when it is freed from restrictive labor laws regulations.

“Endo” is the colloquial and contracted form of “end of contract” – a practice by which employers do not allow workers to work past six months to stop their automatic regularization.

Accordingly, “endo-jobs” are given so many names. Irregular in South Korea, “non-standard in Japan. “Temps or temporary” in many countries and many more. But ILO officials simply refer them as “vulnerable” jobs. It means vulnerable to all kinds of risks because these jobs enjoy limited or no protection and no social security. In short, there is no security of tenure.

Interestingly, a book, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, by Guy Standing, described an emerging class of people facing insecurity, moving in and out of precarious work that gives little meaning to their lives, dubbed as the precariat. 

The author warns that the growth of the precariat is producing instabilities in society. Mr. Standing is a political economist and a former ILO official.

The book was written during the tumultuous and volatile year in 2011 when the burgeoning “Occupy Wall Street Movement” had gained momentum around the world as unemployment and poor-quality employment were on the rise.

Apparently, the book’s publication was very timely. It came out during the time when democratic systems and economies in the United States and the European Union were on the brink of collapsed. And incidents of uprisings had already erupted across Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, Europe and South America.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic workers are suffering from precarity as a result of economic and financial crisis, and weak government policy responses, stated the International Labor Organization (ILO) Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV).

 The same observation mentioned by the ILO ACTRAV, stating among others, that with the advent of another global crisis, precarious work has not only affected several millions of workers worldwide but also challenged the power of trade union movement and the ILO

Though by simple understanding precariat is defined as a mass class by unstable labor arrangements, lack of identity and erosion of rights. These attributes are imminent and now emerged as today’s “dangerous class”.

 Although there are many obstacles to organizing and servicing workers in the platform economy, gig workers are still organizing through innovative means as well as adopting the traditional method such as through existing unions or by establishing new organizations.