DAYS before the expected issuance by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the much-awaited regulation on work contracting, organized labor groups reiterated their call for abolition of all forms of contractualization.
Hundreds of workers from the socialist alliance Manggagawang Sosyalista (MASO) on Thursday staged a rally in front of the Labor department offices in Intramuros, Manila before marching to Mendiola, the gateway to Malacañang, to press the workers’ demand.
The group reminded DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd of the campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop contractualization as it urged the Labor chief to dump the so-called “win-win” solution crafted by the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) and an employers’ group.
“The workers call on DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd to take the side of the workers rather than adopt a flimsy and seemingly neutral stance on the nefarious employment scheme that has led to a cheap and docile labor force,” MASO chairman Lino Brin said.
“Bello should act, not just as the alter-ego of President Duterte who has promised to stop contractualization during the electoral campaign, but as the representative of labor, which is recognized by the 1987 Constitution as the “primary social economic force” and should be granted full protection by the State,” he added.
Under the win-win structure presented by the employers’ group to DOLE, the workers will be hired instead by the service providers, not by the companies, as regular workers with full benefits, such as leave credits, 13th month pay, retirement pay and SSS and PhilHealth perks, among other benefits.
DOLE sources said guidelines on contractualization are expected to be released next week or before Christmas Day.
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) chairman Leody de Guzman expressed fear that the DTI and the DOLE will railroad passage of the win-win solution in Congress.
De Guzman said the working class is getting frustrated by the stand of the DOLE that tends to favor such solution of the DTI and the employers’ group.
According to him, they have already sent a letter, along with a draft executive order ordering the abolition of all forms of contractual employment, to the President, reminding him of the urgency of his election promise to ban contractualization but remains unacted upon.
“Conractualization is an urgent national policy concern because it economically and socially destroys the lives of millions of our people, not only of our national labor force,” the group said, adding that “due to its nationally-destructive outcome, contractualization is as criminal an enterprise as terrorism and the illegal drugs trade are at the present time.”
A similar pitch was also forwarded by the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), the country’s biggest labor group.
Bello has said the end of contract or endo arrangement and other forms of illegal contracting would be totally stopped but those allowed by law and DOLE Department Order No.18-A will remain.
But ALU spokesman Alan Tanjusay said “it was not what the President said [during the presidential campaign], adding that the DOLE chief is putting the Chief Executive in an awkward position.
Bello has explained to reporters that a total ban on contractualization is not possible as there are legal activities that require contractual relations.
He pointed out that the law allows outsourcing of workers if the company does not really need them in its operations as in the case of security guards as well as seasonal and project-based employees.