THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is coming out before the end of the year with a policy or guideline on contractualization, which the labor sector blames as a cause of the country’s high unemployment rate.
According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, the policy would be based on proposals of employer and labor groups made during a dialogue on the issue last week.
“We will come up with a policy or guideline that will be enforced by the department before the year ends. We will decide whether we will end contractualization, allow contractualization or come up with a balance of the two positions,” Bello said in a statement on Wednesday.
The DOLE, he added, is studying a proposed “win-win structure” submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with the support of various employers’ groups, including Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors.
The DTI and the employers’ groups pushed hiring of workers as regular employees by their contractors with full benefits, including leave credits, 13th month pay and coverages by the Social Security System and PhilHealth.
But the Association of Labor Unions (ALU) said the labor sector remains firm on its call for an “absolute” ban on contractualization and rejected as well the proposal of the DTI and employers’ groups.
“We want an absolute ban on contractualization. Our proposal is for employers to be regularized by the employers, not by the labor contractors. We want the principals to regularize their workers to maintain an employer-employee relationship,” ALU spokesman Alan Tanjusay told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“Our last meeting did not result in any agreement between the labor sector and the employers’ groups. It was a stalemate,” he said even as he expressed confidence that the policy being crafted by the DOLE would be on the side of the workers.
Bello said after consultations with labor and employers’ groups in the Visayas and Mindanao, the labor groups can come up with their unified proposals.
He expressed confidence that the government can end contractualization or “endo” (end of contract) in the country.
“Putting a stop to ‘endo’ will not be that easy but I am confident that with the determination of the department and the support of our partners, we can put an end to illegitimate contractualization and provide security of tenure to all our workers,” Bello said.
Under “endo,” workers are hired and fired after five months so that employers can skirt regularizing them and granting them benefits and job security. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL