New DOLE order a license to kill jobs—labor groups
Labor groups, workers from various sectors as well as migrant workers on Friday held a protest outside the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office in Intramuros, Manila against the release of Department Order (DO) 174, saying it is a “license to kill jobs and trample on workers’ rights.”
“Allowing many types of contracting and subcontracting will cause intractable labor rights violations because companies will have an alibi,” Kilos Na Manggagawa spokesperson Rey Cagomoc said in a statement.
“DO 174 is allowing companies to carry a weapon against workers, while appeasing the public that carrying a weapon is legal, and that DOLE will monitor its abuse anyway. Even if DOLE increases its labor inspectors, the government would not be able to control what happens in different workplaces,” he added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday issued DO 174, imposing a total ban on labor-only contracting, strictly regulating lawful contractual arrangements and ending end of contract (endo) scheme.
Under endo or 555 scheme, workers renew their contracts every five months so employers can avoid the obligation of paying them as regular employees, who are afforded various benefits and privileges after six months at work.
“DOLE’s stand is that some forms of contractualization are legal, but the reality is that when these are implemented, companies violate other laws that supposedly guarantee the basic rights of workers,” Cagomoc said.
He said that Bello’s arguments in releasing DO 174 are “defending the greedy corporations rather than upholding workers’ rights.”
“Months of labor meetings fell on deaf ears. Workers clamored for a DO that will draw a distinction between the policies of the Duterte government and those of his predecessors,” Cagomoc added.
The protesters, who condemned the order, kicked the front doors of the agency to object to the said order. The police only arrived after the commotion, the protesters then dispersed, marching to Mendiola.
The labor groups called on the government to deliver its promise to end contractualization. RAM/rga
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