ANALYSIS: DO 174 Encourages modern-day labor slavery

P R E S S    R E L E A S E

What did Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III flaunted as “bawal na” has long been prohibited in a string of tripartite crafted regulations on contracting and subcontracting dating back as far as 1997 through previous regulations on contractualization through Department Order Nos. 10-1997, 18-2002, and 18-A-2011, said labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).

Bello approved DO 174 on March 16, nine months after a so-called series of consultations with labor, employers, manpower service providers and manpower cooperatives However, the department order turns out to be pro-employers and favourable to manpower providers and cooperatives.
The new DO has nothing new to ensure workers’ security of tenure It has in fact broadened employers and labor contractors and cooperatives with greater management prerogatives to fire and hire workers at will, any time regardless of circumstances

“In short, if workers feel abused, they have to go to court and file labor complaints. Labor litigation is long and bitter process for workers. Labor cases are usually resolved after 2 years,” Tanjusay said

Previous regulations on contractualization has not in any way allow: (1) contracting through cabo, (2) in-house agencies whether cooperative or enterprise, (3) contracting out during strike or lockout, (4) contracting out of job performed by union members which results to Unfair Labor Practice, (5) requiring contractor’s employees to sign antedated resignation letter etc., (6) Endo or repeated hiring on short duration or employment contract of short duration than the term of the Service Agreement, and (7) such other schemes that circumvent the right to security of tenure.

Cabo is a person or group of persons that merely recruits and places workers without capital, equipments, tools and office

“Mr. Bello said nothing new. What he has flaunted is still regulation and regulation is not the same as prohibition. The policy framework has long been one of regulation, which has long been proven to be disadvantageous and ineffective in addressing the abuses and the insecurity of the workers on their livelihood,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson.
“The DO 174-17, nicknamed DO30, has miserably failed to deliver on the Duterte promise to uplift workers from poverty threshold by ending Endo and all forms of contractualization which he reiterated on February 27 dialogue with labor groups,” Tanjusay added.

What is new in DO 174-17? It merely: (1) increase in capitalization of contractors/subcontractors from P3 million to P5 million, (2) registration fee raised to P100,000 and renewal every 2 years, (3) purportedly removed the provision of co-term employment contract with the Service Agreement but actually recognizes termination of employment by reason of expiration of the Service Agreement, (4) purportedly required regular employment but Section 11-a refers back to the provisions of Article 294[279] and 295[280] of the Labor Code which recognizes fixed term employment, seasonal, casual and other forms of temporary work arrangements, (5) insultingly inserted a required 3-month period, as supposed badge for regular employment, for the contractor to find a new job for workers under an expire Service Agreement but at the same time, allows payment of separation pay if not placement can be made within the period.

The DO even removed the protections the labor groups inserted in DO18-A, such as: (1) the right to be provided copy of the Service Agreement and the employment contract of the workers deployed under the agreement for ease in organizing among themselves, and (2) Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC) equivalent to the cost of the entire contract covered by the Service Agreement to ensure capacity to pay the wages and benefits of the workers.

“Without these important measures in the new DO 174-17, Bello has allowed the practice of modern-day labor slavery. He has commodified labor and rendered workers powerless, forever trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty and race to the bottom,” Tanjusay said. CPM


Associated Labor Unions-TUCP (ALU)

ALAN TANJUSAY 09158519558

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