LABOR groups will hold massive protests nationwide if President Rodrigo Duterte will accept and approve the new order on job contracting issued last week by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd.
The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said it is hoping that the President will take the side of workers and reject the new guidelines on labor contracting and sub-contracting.
The group said it is not discounting the possibility of launching nationwide protest actions against Department Order (DO) 174 which Bello signed despite strong objections from the workers’ groups.
“We are now having backdoor negotiations with (Special Assistant to the President) Secretary Bong Go for a scheduled meeting with the President upon his return from his trip abroad,” the group’s spokesman Allan Tanjusay told The Manila Times.
Bello is scheduled to present the new order to Duterte during a cabinet meeting on March 23.
Tanjusay said the net move of labor groups will be determined by the outcome of their dialogue with the President.
“Everything hinges on the reaction and appreciation of the President of DO 174. We don’t want to hold protest actions but it all depends on the appreciation of the President,” he added.
“We urge the President to reject DO 174 because it is a loss-loss situation for workers and a win-win formula in favor of employers and manpower service providers and cooperatives. It will perpetuate and further proliferate the existing unperturbed race to the bottom for millions of contractualized workers once it becomes operative two weeks from now,” Tanjusay said.
He pointed out that the order prohibits labor-only contracting and the cabo system, which are already prohibited by a previous order.
“We appeal to the President for redress because the DO will not reverse the current epidemic numbers of contractuals who labor without social benefits or hope. We fear that the government’s goal of inclusive development will be thwarted because the perpetuation of contractualization means the perpetuation of poverty and inequality in our country,” he said.
The TUCP said that workers who are under agencies, contractors, subcontractors and cooperatives get low pay, do not receive health, housing and social security benefits and usually work in hazardous environment.
There are about 800,000 contractualized workers directly hired by principal employers a few years ago.
However, there are around 20 million to 25 million contractual workers hired, managed and deployed by 5,200 manpower service providers and cooperatives as construction workers, agriculture workers in provinces, rendering services in hotels, fast-food restaurants, banks, messenger and delivery, mall retail stores, janitorial and maintenance, security guards and in manufacturing electronics, garments and furnitures.