THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has targeted an initial of 5,150 contractors and subcontractors for assessment this year as part of its strategy to end illegitimate forms of contracting and subcontracting, among other short-term employment arrangements.
At the same time, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd instructed all DOLE regional directors to ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of workers’ right to security of tenure under existing laws, as he reminded them of the government’s goal to reduce the illegal end of contract (“endo”) scheme by 50 percent by year-end and its total abolition by 2017.
“As initial target and based on administrative data of the Bureau of Working Conditions, DOLE will assess 5,150 registered contractors and subcontractors of 26,194 principals,” said Bello over the weekend, adding that the figures came out during a consultation workshop on endo last month.
Bello disclosed that the target contractors and subcontractors have under their wings 416,343 workers, as he stressed that the DOLE recognizes that illegitimate “contractualization” or “endo” practices exist in both bilateral and trilateral employment relationships.
Illegitimate contractualization or endo are practices that constitute labor-only contracting or other similar arrangements, where the duration of employment is fixed for a short period.
The purpose is to circumvent workers’ rights to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, as well as labor standards and other basic workers’ rights.
Bello clarified that the DOLE recognizes legitimate contracting arrangements, such as engagement of project-based workers in the construction industry, provision of janitorial and security services, and other arrangements recognized by the Labor Code and by existing jurisprudence.
“Our commitment to President Duterte is to reduce endo or ‘555’ by 50 percent in six months. And by 2017, it should be a thing of the past … You have to be proactive and take the necessary initiatives if we want to accomplish our task,” said Bello.
Endo or “555” is a work arrangement in which workers are hired for only five months, without security of tenure. Monetary, non-monetary and social protection benefits are inadequate.
“It is very clear there are establishments that are violating the law. If the law will be implemented and there will be strict compliance, I don’t see any reason the objective of ending endo practice by 2017 will not be achieved,” said Bello.
Bello also directed DOLE regional directors to ensure that the department’s labor law compliance officers are doing their tasks of inspecting all establishments, including contractors and subcontractors, in their regions.
“Do not wait for workers to file a complaint. You should take the initiative and make use of your inspectors,” said Bello.