In solidarity with the observance of Labor Day, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today urged the government to address squarely the concerns of Filipino workers who are struggling with contractualization and End of Contract (Endo) labor practices.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, said that resolving the issues on contractualization and “Endo” entails a careful resolution of the doubts in labor law and in the life of the laborer.
“Maraming ‘doubts in labor law’–mga butas ng batas at mga patakaran na ginagamit upang apihin ang mga api na. Higit na marami ang ‘doubts in a worker’s life’–mga kakulangan sa aktwal na sitwasyon ng mga manggagawa ukol sa kanyang relasyon sa kapwa manggagawa, sa kanyang employer at sa gobyerno,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 294
“Napapanahon sa sanlaksang mga duda o problemang ito ang mga usapin ng “Endo” at kontraktwalisasyon na may epekto sa, at naaapektuhan din ng mga pundamental na usapin ng mga manggagawa; seguridad sa hanapbuhay, sapat na sweldo, at mga karapatan sa pag-oorganisa at pakikipag-negosasyon sa employer,” she added.
Under Article 106, the Labor Code of the Philippines allows employers to forge an agreement with contractors to do certain jobs as long as these are not central to business operations.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed Department Order (DO) No. 174 which qualifies labor-only contracting – or the practice where the agency “merely recruits or supplies workers to perform a job or work”- as a form of contracting that is prohibited.
On labor-only contracting, the directive stated that the agency “does not have substantial capital or investment which relates to the job, work or service to be performed.”
De Lima, a former justice secretary, maintained that labor-only contracting, in all its forms and manifestations, should be strictly prohibited.
“Bakit may iba-iba pang klase ng empleyado sa Labor Code? Shouldn’t there be a presumption that all employees are regular? Accordingly, shouldn’t fixed-term employments be prohibited, except on justified and very limited circumstances like in the cases of clearly defined project and seasonal employments, as well as in the situation of relievers for employees who are temporarily absent?” she said.
The Senator from Bicol said the pending bills in Congress that seek to address the problems of “Endo” and contractualization should be studied closely even as she noted that the inputs of all stakeholders–from the government, business and labor sectors–should be considered.
“The output should represent the best solution that our Constitution envisions… and at the same time, it should recognize ‘the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns to investments, and to expansion and growth,” she said.
At the campaign trail, Duterte had promised to solve contractualization by putting a stop to the said practice, which saw employment contracts being terminated before the 6th month to avoid providing employees with benefits accorded to regular workers.
But after failing to fulfill his electoral promises two years into his post, Duterte claimed he is having a hard time balancing the demands of the labor sector and businesses on the issue of “Endo.”
De Lima said that “naniniwala ako na ang isang masigla at malakas na sektor ng paggawa ay patunay ng, at katuwang sa isang masaganang ekonomiya at makatarungang lipunan na papakinabangan ng lahat.”