Filipinos need to change their labour “leaders”. They spout nothing but obsolete Cold War-era slogans every labour day and this year is no different. This year’s call is, guess what, “unite” against [ blah blah blah ]. What is this year’s blah blah blah issue? Contractualisation — specifically the call to stamp out the use of contractual employees in favour of hiring for permanent employment.
Famous sex siren Raquel Welch was once said to have said:
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Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time.
There are, of course, some gains to be expected in labour demanding certain reasonable things in exchange for their “hard work” — like a salary, for example. But because Filipinos exist within a free market (or would like to think that they do), how much salary they get is determined by something called the Law of Supply and Demand. The good news is, a lot of demand for not-so-plenty workers pushes up wages. The bad news is, too little demand within an enormous supply of workers crushes wages. With that crunch comes a weak position to demand other nice things — like permanent employnment, for example, in a market of highly replaceable workers. The Philippines, suffice to say, is on the Bad News side of the equation. It is a labour market where these two confronting realities exist — a supply of warm bodies in wage-crushing numbers and a weak position for these warm bodies to demand more.
Do the usual garden-variety commie “activists” like Renato Reyes address these realities in the idiotic “activism” they have been scamming Filipino workers with all these years?
Very likely not.
You cannot keep demanding stuff when you are in no position to negotiate. This obvious fact is in the pathetic addiction of the Philippine economy to the remittances of Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) today. OFWs represent workers who have given up the “fight” Reyes encourages them to fight and, instead, voted with their feet to find opportunities elsewhere.
What Filipino workers really need are solutions that address the reality that they are bordeline economic liabilities. Thus, the solution they need are means to convert them from the mere liabilities that they are into true assets to the economy. This can be done by making them more marketable and more productive workers. How can this be achieved? Simple. By equipping them with the right skills, knowledge, education, and attitude.
Do the current crop of “activists” focus on pushing these asset-building solutions and less on wasting time and energy on dead-end “movements” and moronic slogans? Absolutely not, because most of these “movements” are spurred more by political objectives (branded using words like “revolution”, for example) rather than true community objectives.
The scam that is today’s “labour activism” in the Philippines needs to stop. Filipino workers need to focus on building capability to compete in a rapidly-changing market and less on finding new excuses to wallow in that victimhood that these traditional activists keep drilling into their heads.
Filipino workers need a new mindset. They need new forms of activism. Most important of all, they need more modern leaders and not Cold War fossils like Renato Reyes who belongs in a museum and not on Manila’s streets wasting people’s time shouting trite slogans in yet another two-bit street rally.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.