Ending contractualization

MANILA, Philippines – Labor groups urge President elect Rodrigo Duterte to be true to his promise, particularly in abolishing labor contractualization in the country.

Policy Advocacy Officer of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) Alan Tanjusay believes if the incoming President can not fulfill his commitment then he will upset most members of the organized trade unions who voted for him.

“If he loses the confidence of the working people, Duterte will lose the broad support of the labor groups in general… If he no longer has the strong support of labor, Duterte will be susceptible, if not vulnerable, to political shocks in his quest to become a distinguished president of the country,” Tanjusay told to Center for People’s Media News Desk.

Partido Manggagawa Chairperson Renato “Ka Rene” Magtubo on the other hand thinks that if the President elect will attend to the issue as he has done in his anti-crime drive, then he (President) can immediately put a stop to several forms of contractualization.

Ka Rene said most common is the ‘endo’ or the 5-5-5 scheme. “Contractualization prevailed because it has been tolerated by the Government and was carried out by the employers without fear and promoted by industry as an unavoidable global norm in sustaining their businesses,” Ka Rene adds.

President Duterte particularly stated during the final Commission On Election (COMELEC) sanctioned Presidential debate at Phinma-University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City last April 24, “The moment I assume office, I will order contractualization to stop!”

The strong statement of the President elect was recently been modified by his appointed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. In a media forum held last Monday, June 27 at Manila Hotel, Sec. Bello stressed that some jobs will still remain contractual during the Duterte Administration. He said it is not feasible to regularize all employees in a company, because some business firms only require seasonal employees such as the construction industry.

“We know about the construction business, it has no permanents except for those in its clerical employees. They will only need permanent employees for big projects, which may last for two to three years,” Bello said.

However Tanjusay and Ka Rene disagreed with the statement of the incoming labor secretary.

“First, the Duterte administration must ensure government social protection and social safety nets are vibrant and relevant to the growing needs of workers. This way, eliminating contractualization can be done.

Second, government must provide incentives and subsidies to labor law compliant employers and companies in support of a regularized workforce,” Tanjusay explained.

For Ka Rene,  there are jobs that can be contracted as defined under the Labor Code—specifically those that are not considered ‘necessary and desirable’ in the company’s main conduct of business.

“An example is the seasonal job.  But over the years employers were able to make contractualization the general rule rather than an exception by employing the services provided by manpower agencies and cooperatives to supply their human resource requirements.  Evidently there are loopholes in the existing laws, specifically Articles 106-109 of the Labor Code that need to be plugged to strengthen the security and tenure of all workers,” Ka Rene said.

Tanjusay adds contractualization can be abolished by proper and consistent assessment and inspection of all workplaces and establishments in the country that will be spearheaded by the Department Of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Labor Law Compliance Officers.

He said eliminating contractualization can best addressed by the President himself by repealing all anti-labor policies and regulations that allow employers to resort to contractualization.

President Duterte must also revoke or amend labor policies and regulations with double meaning that will only be interpreted by employers for their own benefit, thus exploiting the Filipino working class.

The Incoming President can also pass and approve the Security of Tenure Bill coauthored by TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza and former AKBAYAN Party-list Rep. Walden Bello.

On the other hand, Ka Rene said that the primary crusade of the labor coalition “NAGKAISA” will continue to be the Anti-endo campaign—until the anti-labor policy is pressed to an end.

He said, aside from NAGKAISA, the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) together with the Partido Manggagawa (PM) is taking the lead initiative on #EndEndo #WalkTheEndoTalk campaign that will take off on July 1 with a mass action in front of the DOLE office in Intramuros, Manila to seek dialogue with the new labor officials.

“CLC will be pushing for a 10-point recommendation on how to walk the endo talk of the present administration, including the demand to urgently resolve cases related to violations of labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment pending before DOLE and its quasi-judicial bodies,” Ka Rene explained. CPM

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