Labor groups press Aquino to eliminate contractual jobs

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

DESPITE the directive of President Benigno Aquino III for a review of the contractualization practice in the country, labor groups on Thursday continued to press the government to eliminate the said labor practice immediately.

In their Labor Day protests, labor groups unanimously called for the stopping of the contractual hiring process in the country calling it as an unfair labor practice.

An estimated 30,000 members of labor coalition, Nagkaisa, continued to assail the common practice of contractual hiring prevailing in the country.

"Growth shall remain highly unequal when millions of workers remain 'endos' or contractuals. They are the overworked, lowly-paid, and exceedingly suppressed majority of the Filipino working class," said Nagkaisa.

They claimed that more than 70 percent of employed persons in the country can be considered as non-regular workers.

For its part, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) also belittled the job fairs held by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on Thursday, saying the jobs offered are also for contractual work.

"Of the over 100,000 vacancies available at the job fairs, most are work formerly occupied by contractual workers who have become endo (end of contract)," said PM in a statement.

Unlike regular workers, contractual laborers get minimal or no benefits from their employers and can be terminated anytime.

Instead of offering contractual jobs, the labor group strongly urged the Aquino administration to focus rather on the establishment of an agro-industrial policy that will strengthen local agriculture and industry, which will provide regular work and living wages.

Meanwhile, the Dole indirectly urged labor groups rejecting the said practice to utilize the provisions in the Labor Code penalizing uncooperative employers and subcontractors engaged in the so-called "5-5-5", or "endo" (end-of-contract) work practices.

"If there is sufficient evidence of violation of directly circumventing the provision of the Labor Code on subcontracting, we can use Article 288 of the Labor Code which imposes criminal liability for unlawful acts that the Courts can declare," said Baldoz.

"Unfortunately, this provision of the law has not been tested," she said.

The labor chief said such actions would be the labor groups' part in terms of ensuring the correct implementation of contractualization in the country.

For its part, Baldoz said they will continuously make efforts to eliminate fly-by-night subcontractors by placing stricter regulations on subcontracting.

Proof of this, the labor chief said Dole is whittling down the number of sub-contractors from 17,000 to only 5,581, as of March 2014, through the implementation of Department Order No. 18-A - 2011.

"Those who were removed from the list were fly-by-night subcontractors that cannot comply with the stringent requirements of DO 18-A. What remains are legitimate sub-contractors who comply with labor laws and are registered with the Dole under the requirements, terms, and conditions of DO 18-A," assured Baldoz.

To recall, the practice of contractualization is one of the issues raised by the labor leaders during last Tuesday's pre-Labor Day dialogue with President Aquino in Malacanang.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa had already been instructed by Aquino to conduct a review of the said practice. (Sunnex)

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