The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines rejects a new Department of Labor and Employment order that will only perpetuate contractualization and continue to curtail workers’ right to regular employment, freedom of association and collective bargaining, a press release from TUCP said yesterday.
“If there’s a new DOLE department order, it should only aim to repeal Department Order 18-A,” TUCP president Ruben Torressaid.
“Workers have been exploited for a long time. We cannot be a country of contractual and ‘endo’ workers. Repeal D.O. 18-A. Scrap contractual employment arrangements and ensure that workers get regular and decent employment which the Labor Code and the Philippine Constitution guarantee,” Torres said in the press release.
DOLE D.O. 18-A, series of 2011 or the Rules Implementing Article 106 to 109 of the Labor, as amended, is the policy that defined and specified legitimate contracting and sub-contracting, prohibition against labor only contracting, and registration requirements for contractors, among others. Torres said the D.O. went beyond the provisions of the law.
TUCP insists that ‘direct hiring’ by principal employers should become the standard practice as it had been before the issuance of DO 18-A and previous related orders. Doing away with service contractors would effectively address the issue, it said.
“President Duterte’s policy declaration to end contractualization is very clear. He understands that all forms of contractualization –under trilateral employment arrangements –are unjust, uninclusive and anti-worker. Institutionalizing bilateral employment arrangement is the correct way to do it,” Torressaid.
Under bilateral employment relationships, principal employers hire workers’ directly and are made regular workers after the prescribed probationary period of six months.
Trade unions maintain that the practice of contractualization is precarious and nothing but a ‘race to the bottom’. Contractual workers receive the lowest wages, lack the required social protection, and in many instances, work in unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. The use of on-the-job-trainees and interns that replace regular workers is equally exploitative, the press release said.
“The exploitation of many workers –many of whom are women and young workers –is very real while employers and service contractors are laughing their way to the bank” said TUCP.
“The DOLE has the President’s instructions. It should act with haste. DOLE cannot and should not allow workers to remain exploited,” said Torres said.
TUCP called also on the institutionalization of an efficient and upright labor inspection system to restrain abuses, the press release added.*