The long quest for social equity has been thriving in the society since time immemorial. Social equity could be defined as a state in the society wherein the resources would be distributed equally. Thus, there would be no concept of rich and poor.
Among the factors that influence social inequity that we have today is the unequal job opportunities—or the simple lack of it. Under the issue on labor are the working standards especially in developing countries.
We have been acquainted that there are actually existing problems regarding the labor force of the developing countries. Some are underpaid and are not given the benefits that the workers duly deserve—even if it is stated in their constitution or ratified in international laws and agreements.
In most of the developing countries, companies which usually provide job opportunities are multi national companies coming usually from the United States or from other developed countries.
The wages and benefits, however, are substandard or do not follow to international declarations pertaining to labor. In the case of the Philippines, workers are underpaid and are only given limited benefits. The cheap labor force in the country, probably, is the reason behind the investment of international companies in developing countries (Zarocostas 2007).
Workers in developing countries usually earn less than three dollars a day, just like in the Philippines of which tax is deducted from and the job does not offer “beneficial benefits.”
According to the Basic Aims and Standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) ratified during its General Conference on June 1962, the economic planning of a country shall prioritize or give much attention to the improvement of living standards of its citizens. This was stated in the Article 2 of the Basic Aims and Standards of the ILO.
“WORKING STANDARDS” PAGE #2
Also, Article 5 states that the minimum wage shall be enough for the workers to fulfill or satisfy their basic needs. This provision is particularly addressing the family needs of the worker which include housing, clothing, medical needs, food (with its nutritive value), and of course, education (International Labor Organization, 1962).
In a developing country like the Philippines, however, this provision was very far from being obeyed. Given just less than three dollar a day, workers could hardly afford even of what a family needs in a day. The ideal minimum wage is actually more than seven dollars a day, given the living standard in the Philippines (Studies, 2007).
The greater concern over the protection of the labor force in developing countries mainly goes to the implementation of existing local and international laws and agreements. Even if developing countries have identified law that would protect their labor force from any form of labor exploitation or abuse, the problem on the implementation stands still.
According to the Protection of Wages Convention, also by the ILO, the term “wages” shall refer to the earnings or compensation paid by the employer to the employee ideally calculated through terms that are mutually fixed bounded by agreement, national laws or regulations. The wage should correspond to the service rendered by the employee. Amidst the string of international laws that should—ideally—protect the rights of the local employees, the problem on wages and rights of the workers still remain (International Labor Organization, 1962).
The eradication or solution of this labor-related problem does not solely rely on the multi national companies investing in third world countries. It is actually the local government of the country who has the greatest responsibility of protecting the working rights of their workers. As globalization is taking its toll in developing countries, the rights of the workers should be protected as more and more job opportunities would come.
The success of a multi national company is not only measured by its profit but how it protects the rights of its employees.
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OECD, B. a. I. A. C. t. t. (2003). The OECD MNE Guidelines-An Overview. Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://www.biac.org/pubs/mne_guidelines/business-brief-1-1-final.pdf
Organization, I. L. (1949). Protection of Wages Convention, 1949. Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C095
Organization, I. L. (2007). C117 Social Policy (Basic Aims and Standards) Convention, 1962. Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/norm/subject/socialpol.htm
Studies, W. I. f. I. (2007). Globalization and Labor in Developing Countries. Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://www.watsoninstitute.org/project_detail.cfm?id=67
Zarocostas, J. (2007, March 8). Labor leaders from developing countries argue against cuts in industrial tariffs. International Herald Tribune.