Rules allowing agency hiring rejected anew by workers groups
PRESS RELEASE FROM NAGKAISA COALITION
The anticipated new Department Order (D.O.) on endo is finally out for issuance today. But rejection can only be the immediate response of organized labor for the kind of rules that speak about prohibiting contractualization but ends up allowing agency hiring in many forms.
The Labor Secretary has ignored the overwhelming demand of trade unions and workers’ associations to prohibit contractualization since the previous administrations and which the groups continue to articulate in all official consultative processes called for by the DOLE and national tripartite conferences from the beginning of the Duterte Administration.
The President then was very clear: “Ayoko sa agency agency, wala na dapat itong agency agency,” declared the President during the labor dialogue last February 27. The labor movement, likewise, was very insistent: The current policy is a failure, thus, the government must now shift to prohibition.
Workers were demanding prohibitions on contractualization based on the following grounds:
- The current policy of “allow then regulate” has failed the workers and this nation. A country of ENDOS is a nation of poor, violated, and voiceless people.
- It is immoral as it allows employers to save on labor cost and avoid having direct responsibility to their workers while their middlemen (agencies and cooperatives) earn profit from the same exploitative trading transaction.
- It is anti-labor because it violates all the fundamental rights of labor.
- It is anti-development as it exacerbates poverty and deepens inequality in our country.
By ensuring continuity and stability of agency hiring, the new D.O. will never put an end but rather perpetuate the epidemic of contractualization.
- It prohibits labor-only-contracting (LOC) and the cabo system which is already prohibited by law anyway;
- While it prohibits the contractualization of jobs directly related to main business and subject to control of principal, interpretation disputes shall mean expensive and weary some litigations in DOLE, NLRC, and the courts;
- Only in-house agencies and labor cooperatives are not allowed to operate. Independent contractors are permitted;
- The DO opens floodgates to agencies to set up shops. This will enhance cutthroat competition among contractors bidding down salaries and benefits of their employees;
- The more contractuals the country will have, the harder to monitor and regulate. DOLE’s inspection capacity is a chronic problem that also has to be addressed.
It is still a sad day for workers. But the struggle continues. It’s time for a full court press and nationwide actions. We thus demand that Pres. Duterte issue an Executive Order in place of this bad order and certify as an urgent measure HB4444 that seeks the prohibition of contractualization and the criminalization of such offense. CPM