Labor groups march to Senate in final push for passage of anti-contractualization bill
from February 6, 2019 01:00 am to February 6, 2019 01:00 am
VARIOUS labor groups will march on Monday to the Senate in a final push for the approval of the proposed security of tenure (SoT) bill, which if passed into law, would end the illegal practice of contractualization all over the country.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s largest aggrupation of labor groups, said on Sunday that members of its labor affiliates and labor groups belonging to Nagkakaisa Labor Coalition, would start massing at the at the Senate ground in the morning or hours before the start of plenary deliberations on Senate Bill (SB) 1826 otherwise known as An Act Strengthening Workers Right to Security of Tenure.
“Time is running out on the President’s campaign promise to end contractualization. Without Senate approval of the Security of Tenure bill, the fight to end contractualization is lost and the President’s certification of the bill as “urgent” is wasted,” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza in statement.
President Duterte certified SB 1826 as urgent in September 2018. It’s counterpart measure, House Bill (HB) 6908, was approved by the House of Representatives on January 29, 2019.
Congress will adjourn next week to allow lawmaker candidates to prepare for the start of the campaign season for the May 13 mid-term polls.
“It is now clear that there is recalcitrance and apparent opposition in the Senate to the commitment of President Duterte to do away with the evolved forms of Labor-only contracting,” Mendoza said.
The group also reiterated its appeal to the President to call on his allies at the Senate for the immediate reenactment of the proposed measure.
The certification of the bill as urgent came after two years of negotiations with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and four mini-labor summits with the President.
TUCP also pointed out that also at stake was the Philippine labor movement’s more than 30 years’ struggle to free workers from the modern-day labor slavery due to its typical precarious short-term, poorly waged, inadequate social protection and non-existing security of tenure practice.
“We agreed with the President that labor would adopt a reasonable position and step back on its absolute ban position, so we took the position of ensuring that the ban on contractualization would primarily focus on labor-only contracting when the only thing that the manpower really does is to merely recruit and deploy workers to companies,” Mendoza said.
The main feature of the bill says that even if that agency has capitalization and equipment, it is still a labor-only contractor and those workers are really regular employees of the company to which they are deployed, Mendoza added.
The proposed measure seeks to amend the Labor Code on the prohibition of labor-only contracting and other provisions that allow contracting arrangements. The amendment will also clearly define the nature of the work and activities that may be contracted out.
DoLE has maintained that should the duties and responsibilities of a worker be directly related to the main business of the company, such as salesladies working in malls, they shall be considered as regular employees of the principal/employer.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd said a total ban on contractualization was not possible, unless existing laws were amended, as there were legal activities, which required contractual relation.
The employers’ sector, for its part, had issued a collective and common position on SB 1826 asking the Senate for the preservation of the provisions in the Labor Code allowing certain forms of work contracting and short-term employment. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL