DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno said its dialogue with President Duterte on Monday failed to break the “deadlock” between the workers and the Department of Labor and Employment on the issue of contractualization.
“No concrete policy towards fulfilling the President’s promise has been achieved. Duterte refused to uphold our proposed Executive Order that sets measures to end all forms of contractualization and instead asked workers to wait for the DOLE to come up with a new Department Order replacing its previously deferred DO 168,” KMU said in a statement.
KMU said it was “dismayed” with the continued practice of labor contractualization as this was further legitimized by DOLE’s Department Order 168.
The DO 168 issued by Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III as stated that contractual employees will be hired as regulars within the manpower companies.
By doing so, these contractual employees will receive fringe benefits such as the 13th month pay, health insurance, and retirement plans, among others which are usually normally accorded to regular workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III branded DO 168 as a “win-win solution,” a claim which was heavily criticized by KMU for being prejudicial to the interest of the workers.
KMU argued that DOLE’s contested order stripped-off the employer-employee relationship between the workers and their employers which would eventually classified them only as an outsource labor of manpower agencies.
The labor group accused Bello of working “in connivance” with manpower agencies such as the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors when it issued DO 168.
“The ball remains solely in the hands of the President. If Duterte is true to his words, he should take decisive and concrete steps towards fulfilling his promise of heeding workers’ demands to end contractualization,” KMU said.
But Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press briefing Wednesday morning, said that not all labor groups share the same view with that of KMU.
Abella noted that during a three-hour meeting with the labor groups, the president was “free flowing, frank, cordial.”
Abella also announced that President Duterte was “inclined to honor the request of labor to certify [House Bill] 4444 of Rep. Raymond Mendoza as an urgent administrative measure with certain provisions.”
Mendoza’s HB 4444, or the “Security of Tenure Act 2016” aims to “totally prohibit contractualization and all its forms including all fixed-term employment.”
“After decades of consistent struggle, against epidemic of contractualization, workers may finally get their demand for its total prohibition as the president in his first audience with workers’ groups monday evening left no doubt that he’s not only targeting endo, but wants to categorically end all forms of contractualization involving middle man agencies,” Abella said. (davaotoday.com)