MANILA, Philippines – Progressive lawmakers from the House of Representatives Makabayan bloc filed on Tuesday a resolution seeking an investigation into the alleged illegal and unfair labor practices of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) and its service contractors.
ACT-Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago directed the committee on labor and employment to conduct a probe, in aid of legislation, on the operations of Jollibee and its service contractors for illegal and unfair labor practices that include labor-only contracting.
In filing House Resolution 2009, the lawmakers said it is of public interest for the House to look into the operations of Jollibee and its service contractors as “micro-model for determining loopholes in labor laws that allow the proliferation of labor-only contracting leading to undermining the security of tenure of our workers.”
They said the probe could be a basis for revisiting the Labor Code provisions and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issuances on contractualization and labor-only contracting.
According to the workers, Jollibee has an estimated total of 29,000 workers nationwide. This estimated figure does not include workers in Chowking, Greenwich, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon and Burger King under the JFC.
The JFC, the biggest and most popular fast-food chain in the country, boasts of its core value statement that
it is a “place where every employee feels part of the family and experiences a sense of community and fun that makes work enjoyable.”
But according to its workers, as cited in the resolution, the company does not practice what it preaches to the public.
“More than a majority of its workers are not part of the Jollibee family. Worse, the company does not intend to make them part of the Jollibee family even after the Department of Labor and Employment ordered it to regularize its workers. And to make good this intention, it terminated its service contracts with two service contractors resulting in the unceremonious illegal dismissal of some 400 of its workers to escape from its responsibility to the workers under the DOLE Order,” they said.
The workers, the resolution noted, also complained that Jollibee has no regard for their security of tenure. They are contracted out from service contractors even though their tasks and responsibilities are integral to the company’s business operation.
The workers also reportedly complained that the company has burdened them with various exactions which were deducted from their wages for dubious company-initiated self-help schemes like kaagapay, Christmas Party paluwagan, employee savings fund, tulong pangkabuhayan, cooperative dues and shares, “union assistance” and a collection oddly-named “summer fund”.
These complaints were partly affirmed by the report of the DOLE which conducted an assessment inspection of 102 Jollibee branches in Metro Manila and its nine service contractors sometimes last July 2017.
The service contractors are Searchers and Staffers Corp., Generation One Resource Service Multi-purpose Cooperative, Staff Search Asia Service Cooperative, Metroguards Security Service Agency, Integral Care Formation Service Cooperative, Fast Food Deli Service Corp., Citiwide Basic Commodities and Manpower Services Inc., Philpower Integrated Services Company and Toptrend Services Corp.;
The DOLE assessment report found that Jollibee violated the security of tenure of its workers by contracting out to service contractors its personnel requirements for tasks and responsibilities that are vital and directly-related to its business operation.
The Labor Department’s report also affirmed that some of the exactions on the employees’ wages–reaching P15.4 million– were unauthorized and constituted interference of the disposition of the employees’ wages in violation of the Labor Code provision and DOLE issuances protecting the integrity of the wages of employees.
The report also found other deficiencies or non-compliance of requirements mandated by international and local standards on Occupational Safety and Health
DOLE then ordered Jollibee and its service contractors to refund their exactions on employees’ wages: Jollibee for P15,432,305.00 (P15.4 million) and its service contractors for the aggregate amount of P4,137,158.00 (P4.1 million);
In June 2018, the workers’ ”fears turned into a real nightmare” when Jollibee terminated its engagement with two of its service contractors, Staff Search Asia and Toplis, resulting in the termination of 400 workers.
“In the light of the dismissal of contractual workers in the case of Jollibee and of NutriAsia, it is now clear that workers under contractual and labor-only contracting arrangements have nothing under the law to protect their rights as against the myriad escape routes for companies to continue their pernicious and illegal practice,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
Elago said it is imperative to rally behind the efforts and initiatives of Jollibee workers to stand up for what is due to them.
The Makabayan bloc will march alongside workers and various sectors in time for the next State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
Dubbed as “United People’s SONA,” Elago said they would “bring together all truth, justice, and freedom fighters to collectively call for an end to President Rodrigo Duterte’s reign of terrorism.”(davaotoday.com)