Duterte meeting with labor leaders cancelled

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TODAY’S meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and labor leaders for the signing of an executive order (EO) on illegal work contracting was postponed amid strong objections from the Department of Trade and Industry.

It was the third time that such meeting was cancelled.

The proposed EO was drafted by the Labor sector. It aims to put an end to the decades-old problem on illegal work contracting and provide security of tenure to some 30 million contractual workers around the country.

“We were advised by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that the meeting with the President has been called off,” Alan Tanjusay, Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the PhiIippines spokesman, told The Manila Times.


Tanjusay said the Trade department strongly opposed the draft EO, fearing that it would result in higher wages.

He clarified that the EO will restore the norm of direct hiring of workers. It is also a fulfillment of Duterte’s campaign promise to put a stop to contractualization.

Last Friday, marathon deliberations that lasted for eight hours were held between leaders of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), Nagkakaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd and other top officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“The EO will undo decades of injustice to millions of contractualized workers and Endo (end-of-contract) employees enslaved in poverty by contractualization work schemes resulting in poor wages, inadequate social protection benefits, insecurity of tenure and unsafe and unhealthy workplaces, all this amid growing profit-taking by corporations and unprecedented economic growth,” said ALU-TUCP national president Michael Mendoza.

“Our proposed EO provides that contracting or subcontracting will be prohibited. However, our EO will also allow the DOLE Secretary to exempt certain jobs from the prohibition upon consultation with the National Industrial and Peace Council,” Mendoza said.

ALU-TUCP Vice President Luis Corral said Duterte’s signing of the EO would end two years of a policy quagmire.

“The President has played straight with us, he said he would never renege on his promise to end contractualization. He asked us to be reasonable in recognizing some types of contractualization as allowable such as seasonal work, and he asked for time to educate employers. We have complied. By signing the EO, President Duterte and the nation have a tryst with destiny. The EO is a big right step towards building a genuinely inclusive and more decent society,” Corral said.

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