Labor organization opposes House version of amended Security of Tenure Bill

Marje Pelayo   •   December 2, 2020   •   514

MANILA, Philippines – A major labor organization has expressed opposition against the House of Representatives’ (HOR) House Bill No. 7036, or the proposed Security of Tenure Act.

The bill expressly prohibits “labor-only” contracting in the private sector except when any of the following conditions is present: 

  • the contractor does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, pieces of machinery, work premises, among others; 
  • the contractor has no control over the workers’ methods and means of accomplishing their work; and 
  • the contractor’s workers are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of the employer.

Aside from requiring business contractors to obtaining a license from the Department of Labor and Employment, the measure also simplifies and clarifies the classification of employees by: 

  • mandating regular employment as the general rule; and, 
  • prohibiting fixed-term employment except in cases of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), workers on probation, relievers or temporary replacements of absent regular employees, project employees, and seasonal employees.

Despite these provisions, the Associated Labor Union – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) still believes that the proposed measure will only worsen the system of ‘endo’ or ‘contractualization’ in the country.

The group said the measure shouldn’t be passed because it opens an avenue for the extension of a worker’s probationary status. 

“Pinalala pa nila ang contractual workers (They made it worse for contractual workers),” noted ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

“Pwedeng gawing six months probationary ka, uulitin na naman iyong six months na probationary. Pwede iyon under this law (You could be placed under probationary period for six months, then another round of six months probation. That’s possible under this measure),” he added.

Tanjusay added that passage of the bill would mean more competition for manpower agencies because the measure would enable even ordinary individuals to obtain permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) allowing them to supply manpower to a company.

Also, even if employees in manpower agencies get regularized, they are still not assured of keeping the job permanently.

“Halimbawa kung wala nang principal employer na naghahanap ng tao so anong gagawin sa iyo? Wala ka na, dismiss ka na (For example, if there is no available principal employer left to hire workers, what will happen to you? You’ll just be dismissed),” Tanjusay said. 

The bill also prohibits labor cooperatives from forming a workers’ union because members shall be considered ‘partners,’ and no longer laborers.

“This time, ang manpower cooperative ay mga miyembro kaya hindi sila pwedeng i-organize as a union dahil ang sasabihin ng batas, ‘kanino kayo makikipag-negotiate? Sa sarili nyo?’ (This time, manpower cooperatives will be members, so they are not allowed to form a union because the law would say, ‘Who are you going negotiate with? Yourselves?’),” the spokesperson said.

He added that there are jobs that can be outsourced such as electrical jobs. However, the trend among employers at present is to outsource even production workers.

“More than 90% ng trabahong regular at directly related sa company na mga trabaho ay ginagawa na ng mga contractual workers at ENDO. So eto yung nangyayari ngayon (More than 90% of the regular positions and jobs directly related to the company are done by contractual workers. This is what is happening now),” Tanjusay said.

“Ang gusto namin maibalik doon sa dating konsepto at prinsipyo na dapat lahat ng mga essential, lahat ng necessary na mga trabaho regular sila, (What we want is to apply the previous concept and principle where all essential and necessary workers are regularized),” he added.

The bill passed on the third and final reading at the HOR while the Senate version remains pending.

UNTV is still waiting for comments from the employers’ group and DOLE. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Nasa 3 milyong manggagawa, posibleng hindi makatanggap ng 13th month pay — employer group

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Posibleng umabot sa tatlong milyong manggagawa mula sa formal sector ang nanganganib na hindi makatanggap ng 13th month pay ngayong taon.

Ayon sa presidente ng Employer Confederation of the Philippines na si Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., marami sa mga maliliit na negosyo ang patuloy na nahihirapan sa gitna ng pandemya.

“Kalahati ng micro nagsara na, wala namang 13th month pay kung nagsara na. Ang natitirang kalahati ang nanganganib na hindi makapagbigay,” ani Ortiz-Luis.

Kinausap na aniya nila ang Department of Labor and Employment at Department of Trade and Industry ukol sa problema na ito.

Ayon kay Ortiz-Luis, naghahanap na ng paraan si DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez para magkaroon ng pondo at maipautang sa mga maliliit na negosyo para may maipambayad sa kanilang mga manggagawa sa katapusan ng taon.

“At mukhang malaking tiyansa na makagawa ng facility para yung mga walang pambayad — gustong magbayad ng 13th month pay— makautang sila na, hopefully, walang interest. At least one year to pay.  Iyon sana gusto kong mangyari,” dagdag pa niya.

May natatanggap na ring reklamo mula sa mga manggagawa ang Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines o ALU-TUCP ukol sa isyu ng pagbibigay ng 13th month pay.

“Nagpa-abot na ng notice sa amin dahil sinasabihan daw sila ng kanilang mga supervisor na nagpaparinig sa kanila at sinasabi na baka hindi sila mabigyan ng 13th month pay this year dahil nga hirap na hirap ang kumpanya na maka-recover,” ayon sa tagapagsalita ng ALU-TUCP na si Alan Tanjusay.

Ani Tanjusay, maaari namang mag-usap ang employer at employee para sa installment ng benepisyo kung wala talagang maipambabayad ang mga kumpanya.

“Magkasundo sila kung paano yung installment, hanggang kailan yung installment, ilang installment babayaran yung 13th month pay,” dagdag pa ni Tanjusay.

Isinusulong din ng grupo na magkaroon ng pautang ang pamahalaan sa mga negosyante para mapunan ang pagbabayad ng 13th month pay na mandato ng kumpanya sa ilalim ng umiiral na batas. —/mbmf (mula sa ulat ni UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Labor group calls on gov’t to make vaccination accessible to workers

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A labor group is asking the government to make vaccination accessible to workers.

Associated Labor Union-trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said about 200,000 to 300,000 workers still remain unvaccinated in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble.

“Nauuso ngayon iyong walk-in vaccine hopping. Ito yung mga manggagawang desperado na nagtatrabaho pero dahil kulang yung vaccines doon sa mga probinsya nila o sa kanilang siyudad kung saan sila nakatira, eh desperado silang naghahanap ng mga walk-in sa NCR o sa karatig na probinsya,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

The group said that those in the provinces suffer the long wait for vaccines unlike residents in Metro Manila.

They added that even if the local government units (LGUs) in the said region have opened their vaccinations to non-residents, non-NCR residents are still not among their priority.

Thus, the group is calling on the government to bring the vaccinators to their workplaces especially now that most industries require workers to be fully vaccinated.

“Dapat siguro bakit hindi pumunta yung mga vaccinator sa mga workplaces? Imbes na mga manggagawa ang maghanap-hanap kung saan, dapat lahat ng businesses o business establishment sa Metro Manila ay puntahan ng mga vaccinators,” Tanjusay said.

Meanwhile, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) is requesting for additional supply of COVID -19 vaccines and the construction of additional storage facilities.

Marinduque governor and LPP president, Presbitero Velasco said, “Tingin ko yung government kung may pondo pa, they should provide ultra low freezers para pati naman yung malalayong LGUs at yung mga lower rank LGUs ay mabigyan naman ng magagandan bakuna.”

For its part, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has begun vaccination programs for construction and factory workers after the national government provided them with 452,000 doses of vaccines.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III stressed that workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid further crippling the economy.

“Kasi kung hindi mo bakunahan yung mga workers natin, mapipilay yung ating mga negosyo. Ngayon pag napilay yung negosyo, pilay yung ating ekonomiya,” Bello said.

In the coming week, DOLE has scheduled a roll out of vaccination in certain provinces with a specific number of COVID vaccines doses:

Malolos, Bulacan – 1,000 (Sept. 23, 2021)
Bataan – 1,000 (Sept. 24, 2021)
Dumaguete – 1,000 (Sept. 24, 2021)
Cebu – 5,000 (Sept 24, 2021)

MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Separate workspaces for vaccinated, unvaccinated workers need more study — DOLE, labor group

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Assigning separate workspaces for vaccinated and unvaccinated employees may need further study, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Although DOLE recognizes the need for a ‘safe place’ as proposed by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, such a measure would entail additional expenses.

“Essentially the Secretary supports the recommendation but he said that it requires further details in terms of implementation as this may entail added cost on the part of the workers who have not been vaccinated yet,” Labor Assistant Secretary Nikki Tutay said.

Workers group ALU-TUCP also shares the same view on the matter.

“Ang problema nito ay kapag ito ay ipinasa pa doon sa expenses na dapat ibigay nila sa mga manggagawa. Hindi naman tama iyon,” said ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

Tanjusay said, though they also recognized the need to protect the workers in workplaces, the implementation of standard health protocols would be enough for now to prevent the spread of virus in offices.

“Marami naman sa mga manggagawa ang desidido nang magpabakuna. Ang problema sa kasalukuyan, kulang yung bakuna,” Tanjusay noted.

Concepcion raised the idea of providing separate workspaces considering the rate of transmission of COVID-19 especially in confined offices which makes unvaccinated workers vulnerable to infection.

He proposed such a measure in anticipation of what would happen in October when more workers would likely be allowed to return to physical work sites following mass vaccinations.

Concepcion suggested an analysis on the issue as early as now especially because it also involves public transportation.

He stressed, however, that his proposal doesn’t intend to discriminate.

“Siyempre ang hindi kumuha ng vaccine, madali silang mahawahan. That’s non-discriminatory. Papasok na rin sila, nakapasok din sa opisina walang problema pero isang lugar,” Concepcion said, adding that workers are more productive in physical workspaces that working-from-home. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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