THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given its go- signal to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to beef up the latter’s existing pool of labors laws compliance officers (LLCOs) as it steps up its campaign against illegal work contracting.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Tuesday said 36 new LLCO positions will be filled up soon to complement the existing 525 compliance officers for assignment to key areas where non-compliance with labor laws and standards is high.
According to Bello, the new positions, with a budget of P15 million, will be further boosted when the Labor department submits to Congress a request for additional 200 LLCO items to effectively perform assessment and inspection of around 937,554 small, medium and big business establishments in the country.
“These new positions will augment our manpower in the assessment and inspection of business establishments in the country, particularly on their compliance with Department Order (DO) 174,” he said.
DO 174 is the revised implementing rules on contracting and sub-contracting. It was signed by Bello last March, replacing DO 18-A.
Under DO 174, workers are now regular employees with the labor contractors but the same workers have no relationship with principal employers who need the workers to produce certain products or render certain services.
It prohibits, among others, labor-only contracting, when the principal farms out work to a “cabo,” contracting out of job through an in-house agency, contracting out by reason of a strike or lockout whether actual or imminent, contracting out a job being performed by union members, requiring the contractor/sub-contractor’s employees to perform functions which are currently being performed by the regular employees of the principal and repeated hiring by the contractor/sub-contractor of employees under an employment contract of short duration.
Labor groups, however, said DO 174 does not serve its primary purpose of helping workers get backwages and benefits.
Labor group Associated Labor Unions spokesman Alan Tanjusay cited how the officers and staff of DoLE Cavite Office in Trece Martires City ignored a complaint filed last April by the employees against their employer and manpower service providers for illegal dismissal.
Despite working for 3 to 10 years in the company, Ronalyn de Castro, Emeliza Opulencia, Raffy Bangga, Juanito Tarroyo and Epifanio Matudan were all dismissed by end of March by their principal employer Eduardo Co, owner of Better Living Tile and Bath Center located in Silang, Cavite.
The employees are handled by two manpower agencies–North Asia Manpower Service Inc. and Polystar General Services.
In their complaint, the workers said they were fired without just cause, any reason, or notice.
They were replaced by a new set of workers from other manpower agencies to fill up their vacant positions.
The workers claimed that they went to the DoLE Cavite office to inquire about the illegaldismissal complaint but they were given the runaround.
They discovered on June 16 last week that the complaint they filed was even booked or formally recorded by the staff for notice of formal hearing.
“Without any protection, this is how contractualized employees are being treated by many abusive business owners. Employees are not important to principal employers. After utilizing their labor for many years, employees are disregarded and thrown away like a piece of used rag,” Tanjusay said.