Contracting firms to be checked for ‘endo’
MORE than 5,000 contractors and subcontractors are to be assessed this year as the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) intensifies its campaign against contractualization or “endo” as it is more popularly known.
The initial target of 5,150 registered contractors and subcontractors of 26,194 principals was agreed upon during a consultation workshop of the agency last month, the department said.
This was based on administrative data from the Dole’s Bureau of Working Conditions, which noted that 416,343 workers were employed by the contractors and subcontractors.
“This is an initial target… Some of these registered contractors and subcontractors were previously assessed by Dole regional offices,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
The department, however, said it recognized legitimate contracting arrangements such as project-based workers in the construction industry, janitorial and security services, among others.
Reduce by 50 percent
Bello said he had asked regional labor directors to be more proactive in their goal to reduce “endo” by 50 percent by the close of the year, preparatory to its abolition by 2017.
He directed the regional directors to ensure their labor law compliance officers were inspecting all business establishments in their areas.
“Do not wait for workers to file a complaint. You should take the initiative and make use of your inspectors, make sure that your inspectors are doing their jobs,” he said.
“Endo” or “end of contract” refers to the practice of letting go of workers before they reached six months on the job, which automatically qualified them for regularization with full benefits.
Regional labor directors have drafted an action plan, which details their strategies in ensuring that workers enjoy the right to security of tenure.
Among others, the aim is to increase the number of regularized workers and the ranks of laborers under legitimate contractual arrangements.
Deputize labor leaders
The Partido Manggagawa (PM), meanwhile, has urged the government to deputize union leaders as labor inspectors to help in the campaign.
“By deputizing labor leaders, the number of inspections of establishments using subcontracting schemes can be multiplied overnight, enforcement can be strengthened immediately, and hundreds of thousands of contractual workers can be regularized as a result,” said PM national chair Rene Magtubo.
Bello said he favored the suggestion, and as a start, met with a group of nurses and medical workers, who expressed willingness to join the inspection of hospitals in Metro Manila.
He said the agency may tap the private sector to help out with about 900,000 businesses nationwide needing inspection and only about 600 inspectors duly licensed at the department.