Workers buck new guidelines on contractualization

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ORGANIZED labor and employers failed anew to come to terms over the contentious issue of work contracting and subcontracting, which ended up with the former’s rejection of new Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) guidelines on contractualization.

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“We are unmoved by employers and contractors in their assertion that contractualization is allowed. The billions they have earned while their workers slave at subsistence wages are testament to 25 years of injustice,” said Nagkaisa Labor Coalition chairman Michael Mendoza on Friday.

Mendoza disclosed that a new department order (DO), the fourth to be crafted by the DoLE, wants labor groups to recognize that contracting and sub-conctracting are legal.

“It was stated in the first paragraph [of the new DO]that job contracting and subcontracting are legitimate under the law. We rejected it,” the labor leader told The Manila Times.

The new DO was presented to labor groups for approval during the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council meeting last Tuesday. It was supposed to be signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd last Monday.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Nagkaisa and Associated Labor Unions and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, among other organized labor groups, and by the Employers’ Confederation of the
Philippines and the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors.

Mendoza stressed that what the employers and contractors groups wanted was contrary to the campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Bello maintained though that the DoLE could only regulate but not prohibit contractualization, because there are certain types of work contracting that are allowed by law.

But Mendoza said that Bello’s assertion was untrue. “Section 106 of the Labor Code is crystal-clear in providing that the [Labor] secretary ‘may regulate or prohibit’ contractualization. The DoLE legal stance smacks of intellectual dishonesty and deception,” he added.

“We therefore affirm that the context of any DO must be one of total prohibition. That was reinforced by the President when he spoke to labor this month,” Mendoza said.

Duterte, in his dialogue with labor groups in Malacañang, said: “I will not renege on my promise. I don’t like this agency hiring.”

“We implore our President to clarify his orders to the DoLE. In the alternative, we request a new executive order to place things in order,” Mendoza said.

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