EO 51 entrench anti-worker practice, labor group claims

May. 04, 2018

Workers under different labor federations march together in a march protest against any form of labor-only contract on Labor Day. (Mark Joy G. Basallajes/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As it commended ​ the workers who showed up in a unity rally on Labor Day, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) also criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for issuing Executive Order No. 51, a measure which it said failed to stop and legalized the practice of contractualization in the country.

“The issuance of EO 51,” it added, “is a mockery to Filipino workers.”

“The EO was immediately exposed by the national labor centers leading the march as fake and misleading, purported to end contractualization while actually further entrenching the anti-worker practice,” the group said in a statement issued on Friday, May 4.

“​It said the measure lacks the genuine commitment to end contractualization, its language has been heavily watered down and rendered inutile,” the statement added.

KMU also expressed fear EO 51 will only worsen the existing loopholes of the labor law such as the previous issuance of Department Order No. 174 by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

DO 174 was issued in March 2017 by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III and KMU said it “sets out policies as to which forms are illegal, but does not ban contractualization altogether.”

But EO 51 is worse compared to DO 174 “because it further establishes labor contracting through agencies as the standard of employment in the country,” the group said.

“This is a severe blow to workers’ right to job security and all the other rights that come with regularization and a stable, long-term employer-employee relationship,” the statement added.

​While the DOLE said it has conducted of labor standards and labor-only contracting inspections ​in the workplaces that led to the regularization of more than 100,000 contractual workers, the ​KMU said there were several orders for regularization that were unimplemented.

“Worse, regularization orders from DOLE regional offices, especially those involving big multinational companies, were even reversed by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III himself,” KMU added.

“Duterte has again killed the hopes of millions of contractual workers — especially long-standing contractuals — of being regularized. The EO 51 is anti-worker, pro-contractualization and pro-big business and therefore should be junked,” the statement claimed.

KMU has asked labor groups to assert their demand for direct hiring and regularization through principal employers and not through contracting agencies.

“We must intensify our collective action to put pressure on the government to implement long-pending regularization orders. We urge on the millions of contractual workers to join us in mass filing for regularization before both the DOLE and the Office of the President,” KMU said. (davaotoday.com)

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