Workers lambast DOLE’s new contractualization policy
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Labor groups are disputing the claim of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that it has ended unfair practices for workers in the country.

In fact, they are gearing up for a series of protest actions to stop DOLE from enforcing in early 2017 the new policy governing contractual employment.      

Julius Cainglet, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) vice president, said the new DOLE regulations broke the promise of President Duterte to end all forms of contractualization.       

According to Cainglet, the new policy legitimizes instead of curbs the operations of manpower agencies to contract the services of workers.

“While being regularized sounds good, being employed by a manpower agency is different altogether. It doesn’t improve the precarious condition of workers for they can still be easily removed from their work anytime,” Cainglet pointed out. 

He said the new regulations would allow the manpower agency to float workers for three months without giving them jobs until they surrender and resign without getting any of the promised benefits.

“Should they find work elsewhere for another agency, they will forfeit the promised benefits from the previous agency,” he added. 

Cainglet said the new department order (DO) issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III did not go through the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council and thus “should be junked.”        

Militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said Bello merely “sugar-coated” the problem of contractualization with the issuance of the new department order.

KMU said the new policy would pave the way for more labor rights violations and further liberate businessmen from all their obligations under permanent employment.

“Bello is lying (through) his teeth when he said he cannot totally prohibit contractualization because his hands are tied by existing laws. That is just a flimsy excuse to cover up his strong bias for capitalists’ profits over workers’ rights and welfare,” KMU claimed.

KMU said the Labor Code empowered the DOLE secretary to either allow or prohibit contracting of workers.

He said Bello could easily issue an order prohibiting all contractual employment schemes to protect workers’ rights to security of tenure.        

“The labor sector’s position is firm – all forms of contractualization must end. This has been a long standing demand of Filipino workers which President Duterte himself strongly committed and promised to heed,” KMU stressed.

KMU said with the new policy, Bello defied Duterte’s order to stop contractualization and betrayed the Filipino workers’ trust.

Bolder protest actions are set to be launched as soon as the new policy takes effect, KMU said.

KMU said Duterte should reject Bello’s DO or he would also face the workers’ outrage.

The Associated Labor Union (ALU) said workers want a personal dialogue with the President so they could discuss ways to end “endo.        

ALU said they would also ask Duterte to consider the issuance of an executive order expressly prohibiting all forms of contractualization.

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