THE Church-Labor Conference (CLC) composed of labor and church groups submitted over the weekend to new Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd a 10-point proposal to begin the process of stamping out the illegal practice of contractualization by many big shopping malls and other establishments around the country.
Contractualization, or “endo” or “555”, is a work arrangement whereby workers are only hired for about five months or less than six months without security of tenure, non-monetary and social protection benefits.
“Contractualization of labor, specifically the practices of unscrupulous employers that directly violate or circumvent labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment, [is]arguably the gravest threat to our workers’ right to security of tenure,” CLC said in a statement.
Established at the height of the global financial crisis in 2009, it has become an active member of the Technical Executive Committee of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.
CLC is headed by Partido Manggagawa Chairman Renato Magtubo and Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
It submitted the following recommendations:
(1) Conduct a nationwide labor consultation of workers in the private and public sector aimed at (a) threshing out employment schemes workers have encountered during employment that violate and/or circumvent labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment; (b) generating proposals to address violation and circumvention of labor laws and regulations; and (c) establishing mechanisms to encourage workers’ participation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to end contractualization of labor.
(2) Work for the certification by President Duterte of anti-endo bills that are going to be filed in Congress that will strengthen workers’ security of tenure in the private and public sector.
(3) Launch a massive and sustained information and education campaign to workers and employers on the labor laws and regulations at present pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment.
(4) Conduct a nationwide and sustained inspection of all labor contractors and service providers registered with the Department of Labor and Employment [DOLE] and other government agencies aimed at (a) finding out whether they are compliant with the existing labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment; and (b) filing cases against violators.
(5) Conduct a nationwide and sustained inspection of all factories and establishments inside and outside of the private and public industrial estates and/or zones aimed at (a) finding out whether they are employing contractual workers and as such compliant with existing labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regular employment; and (b) filing cases against violators.
(6) Formulate policies and guidelines to speed up resolution of cases under the DOLE quasi-judicial bodies on violations of labor laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting and regularization of employment.
(7) Urgently resolve pending cases and labor disputes related to contractualization.
(8) Establish a separate mechanism comprised of among others representative of unions, the DOLE and the Civil Service Commission that will assess and address rampant use of contractual or other forms of non-regular employment in the public sector.
(9) Train and deputize labor leaders to become part of the DOLE pool of inspectors who are mandated to conduct inspections and provide reports and/or recommendations on violations of labor laws and regulations.
(10) Institutionalize the role of tripartite formations in the country as partner of the DOLE in accomplishing President Duterte’s campaign promise to end contractualization of labor.
Contractualization, the CLC said, is a problem that renders futile the exercise of workers’ other constitutional rights to freedom of association, bargain collectively, concerted action and living wage.
“Like the menace of illegal drugs and criminality in the country, it must be stopped! Otherwise, we will become a nation of endos where workers are deprived of their constitutional rights to gainful and productive employment,” it added.
The CLC, however, concedes that addressing contractualization of labor is not that simple as it requires complex and sustainable solutions.
But it expressed belief that cooperation and the strong resolve of like-minded stakeholders are very important in getting rid of the “endo” menace.
Bello has given his assurance that “endo” must stop because it is against the law.