DoLE beefs up pool of labor inspectors

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THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is hiring at least 200 more labor law compliance officers (LLCOs) as it steps up its campaign against illegal forms of contracting and sub-contracting amid reports of non-compliance by some abusive employers, including some big-ticket corporations.

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DoLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Friday disclosed that he has already requested the creation of 200 plantilla positions to augment the department’s existing pool of labor inspectors.

At present, the Labor department has only 550 LLCOs, as against the more than 90,000 establishments and firms.

“We will create regional inspection teams that directly report to the Office of the Secretary,” Bello said, adding that he has also tasked Undersecretaries Joel Maglunsod and Bernard Olalia to supervise the regional inspection teams.

Earlier, he issued Admistrative Order (AO) 164 deputizing as labor inspectors qualified members of Legitimate Labor Organizations (LLO), Labor Associations (LA), Chartered Locals (CLs), National Union/Federation (NUF), Accredited Integrated Professional Organization/Accredited Professional Organization (AIPO/APO), Non-Government Organization (NGO) and Employer’s Organization (EO).

President Rodrigo Duterte gave his imprimatur to the deputization of labor federations and trade union participation in government inspection of workplaces in the face of growing employers’ non-compliance with general labor standards and occupational safety and health.

The DoLE has intensified its efforts in conducting Special Assessment and Visit to Establishments (SAVE) and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) inspections of various companies and employers in the country to ensure that they comply with Department Order (DO) 174, the new guidelines on contracting and sub-contracting.

Taking part in the initiative are DoLE-attached agencies such as the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) and Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC).

As of April, around 47,000 workers had been regularized by their principals or employers in accordance with DO 174.

“DoLE will make sure that companies and employers nationwide will strictly abide by the labor standards most especially in regularizing their employees. On top of that, workers should also be entitled to proper wages and benefits under the law,” Bello said.

At least two big corporations, Philippine Long Distance Corp. (PLDT) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) and sister firm PAL Express (Palex), have been branded as among the top violators of labor laws after they were subjected to SAVE.

Both firms though had assured the Labor department of full compliance with existing labor laws and regulations.

But the Manggawa sa Komunikasyon ng Pilipinas (MKP), PLDT’s rank-and- file union, has disclosed that the communications company continues to violate DO 174.

“While PLDT declares that it will continue to fully cooperate with the DoLE, the resolution has not been implemented, yet it announced the outsourcing of its IT [information technology]services which is utterly illegal,” said MKP in a statement.

“This is so, not only because IT services are necessary and desirable to PLDT’s business but also because its IT services are manned by regular employees. It is downright illegal to outsource jobs of regular employees,” MKP president Arthur Castillo said.

PLDT has been declared earlier to have engaged in labor-only contracting and ordered to regularize 10,000 workers and pay the necessary amount pertinent to violations of general labor standards.

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