Job security worries Pinoy workers in Brussels

By Loui Galicia, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Apr 09 2014 09:52 AM | Updated as of Apr 09 2014 05:52 PM

Steve Jara poses with some friends who joined the big protest in Brussels last week

BELGIUM - Filipino hotel workers in Brussels are suffering from anxiety over their job security because of the economic crisis which continues to plague Europe.

Pinoy Steve Jara just joined a big protest in Brussels last week, as a delegate of the Centrale Generale des Syndicats Liberaux de Belgique (CGSLB) which is one of the largest labor unions in Belgium.

The biggest labor unions in Belgium held a protest march against the prolonged austerity measures of the European Union which has lasted for five years now.

CGSLB said the measures are not fair anymore, inefficient and even continue to impoverish the citizens of Europe.

Jara is one of more than 200 Pinoy hotel workers in Brussels who fear for their jobs because layoffs and downsizings have already started as part of the hotels’ own austere measures brought about by the harsh impact of the economic crisis.

According to the Pinoy, workers who are on fixed contracts are being laid off and are being replaced by temps, casuals or trainees in order to save money.

Apparently, it’s cheaper to hire a casual or temporary worker because of the short contract and no cost at all to engage student trainees.

“Stop nila dapat yung ganoong sistema kasi di nakakatulong yon. Tulad ng mga estudyante, walang bayad yun so pina-profit talaga ng hotel yung ganung sitwasyon,” Jara said.

“Ang mga Pinoy workers naman, mawawalan sila ng trabaho , magugutom mga pamilya nila tapos papalitan sila ng trainee lang,” Jara added.

Majority of the Pinoy hotel workers have already been in their jobs for more than 10 years and some are nearing retirement.

Another kababayan, Raquel Ibarra, is worried because the 5-star hotel where works has already been sold.

She is stressed and scared because until now, there is no clear sign whether she and the rest of the hotel staff are going to be retained, rehired or absorbed by the new management.

“19 years ako nagtrabaho dun, pamilya na turing ko sa trabaho, talagang napamahal na at mahirap nang magumpisa ulit,” Ibarra said.

The Pinoys are concerned that if the economic crisis and the E.U. austerity measures continue, they would end up in a dire “from hand-to-mouth” existence in Belgium, a situation that forced them to leave the Philippines.