Bello eyes ‘middle ground’ on endo

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LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd called on organized labor groups to reconsider their position calling for a total ban on all forms of contractual work.

Bello on Sunday urged workers to opt for a “middle ground” to strike a balance between business and labor.

He made the appeal as the Labor department concluded its nationwide consultative summits on contractualization.

“While the Department is keen on curbing illegitimate contractualization or ‘endo’ practices as directed by the President, we recognize that there are legitimate forms of contracting and thus may be allowed particularly in seasonal and project employment,” he told labor groups during the last leg of the Labor Summit held in Cebu,

Stressing that illegal contractualization and “endo” practices undermine workers’ right to job security, Bello encouraged labor groups to keep an open mind and consider the possibility of finding a middle ground that would be mutually beneficial to workers and employers.

He added that just as the Constitution protects the rights and promotes the welfare of workers, it also recognizes the right of employers to reasonable return on investment, and to expansion and growth.

“Workers and employers are bound to co-exist. One could not be without the other,” he stressed.

Bello said the summit served as an opportunity for labor leaders to identify the priority concerns of workers while the administration is in the process of firming up its national development plan.

”I urge labor groups to work hand-in-hand with the Administration in identifying plans, policies and platform of engagement in the next medium term that are anchored on principles of decent work and social justice,” the Labor chief said. “This will also pave the way for the formulation of a Comprehensive Labor Agenda under the Duterte Administration, which would be submitted for consideration in the formulation and finalization of the national development plan.”

The Labor Summit was organized to generate inputs and positions on various concerns, particularly on industrial policy and economic roadmap; security of tenure; wage, tax, and price reform; labor rights and standards; migration; informal economy; and women.

But Association of Labor Unions (ALU) spokesman Alan Tanjusay said Bello’s proposed “middle ground” offers nothing new.

WILLIAM B.DEPASUPIL

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