‘Duterte promise to stop endo being watered down, compromised’
The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC)-Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sector on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the government’s “sudden backpedaling” on President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise to stop the unfair practice of labor contractualization in the country, which it said was being addressed through “compromised” solution.
“[One hundred] days passed however, such promise being made seems being watered down by the government. Based on the so-called ‘win-win solution’ being espoused by trade officials during its meeting with employers’ groups, employment through contracting and sub-contracting arrangements must continue in order to be remain competitive amidst globalizing economy,” the NAPC-Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sector Representative Edwin Bustillos said in a statement.
“The labor sector had enough of [these] precarious working arrangements. It practically denies the workers their basic rights to receive living wage and social benefits, safe working conditions, as well as to form or join trade union of their own choosing,” it added.
The NAPC was reacting to the so-called “win-win situation” that trade and labor officials and business leaders have come up with. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said workers will be hired by service providers and agencies as regulars and will be receiving full benefits, while companies have the flexibility to either directly hire workers as regular employees or outsource them through service agencies in case of seasonal jobs.
But the NAPC called for a new and urgent policy on employment relationship “which will protect workers from exploitation,” saying that it was the only solution to end the “vicious cycle of poverty.”
“Needless to state however, the new policy on employment relationship being contemplated are heading more likely to ‘compromised win-win solution’ due to the strong lobby of the economic managers and capitalists. Despite of strong expression of all labor groups against contractualization, the workers are once again being offered as a sacred cow in the altar of neo-liberal dogma,” the statement read.
The group also reiterated its call for the passage of a law on security of tenure both in the public and private sectors prohibiting all forms of contractualization as a priority measure, and the issuance of a new labor department order stating that all forms of contractualization are prohibited.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon said they “fully agree” with the government’s “win-win” solution as the workers would be “regularized and they will enjoy all the benefits mandated by law.”
“Definitely, from our position, we know illegal talaga ang ‘endo,’ okay. This ‘555’ is illegal and then we do not tolerate it. We had a meeting two weeks ago wherein we invited the other business organizations. And our agreement is that once the pronouncement is made clearer, we would come out with a manifesto telling our members that they should not deal with shady agency wherein they are providing cheap but they are continuing this practice of ‘endo,’” Barcelon said.
“The bottom line is, we want to create more jobs. Okay. We don’t want this to be stumbling block na ang mandate ni (because the mandate of) President Duterte is that inclusion growth… I hope that they would see that this arrangement is neither pro-management but should be more pro-laborers. Those people who are left hanging before, wherein they are workers under an agency but they’re not registered with Social Security System,” he added. RAM/rga
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