By: Maureen A. Hermitanio
MANILA – The death yesterday of the 10 construction workers at the construction site of Eton Residences in Makati City could be regarded by some as a “freak accident” but is actually the result of the gross neglect of labor standards and workers’ rights, both by the employers and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
The workers were installing glass windows on the 32nd floor when the gondola or construction elevator they were on gave way and sent them crashing to the seventh floor. Each of them was paid P260 a day to work at the dangerous construction site.
The work-related accident opened a can of worms about the operations of Eton Properties, one of the biggest real-estate developers in the country. It also reminded the public as well as authorities about the institutionalized violation of workers’ rights, labor standards and occupational health and safety regulations in the construction industry, considered by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as one of the most hazardous workplaces.
The P260 daily wage received by the construction workers at Eton is way below the government mandated P402 daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region. This doesn’t come as a surprise since construction workers at Eton are hired through a subcontractor, CE Construction Corp.
Subcontracting and labor-only contracting is a common practice in the construction industry. Manpower agencies provide work force for real-estate developers and contractors. Workers are hired based on the exploitative pakyaw and arawan employment scheme wherein workers are paid daily or weekly based on the project and their task in the construction.
Workers in this kind of exploitative contractual employment schemes receive lower wages. In the case of Eton, the subcontracted workers do not receive any benefits like those from the Social Security System,... [continues]
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