Labor organization opposes House version of amended Security of Tenure Bill

Marje Pelayo   •   December 2, 2020   •   176

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)

Workers’ union brews ‘online rally’ on Labor Day

Marje Pelayo   •   April 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The largest union of workers in the country expressed concern over possible massive retrenchments in the advent of the “new normal” in the labor sector as the crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. 

Consequently, the Associated Labor Union – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) is brewing a massive protest rally on May 1, Labor Day — not on the streets but online. 

Given the restrictions under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said they will use the technology to raise their concerns to the national government. 

Gamitin (natin) ang social media platform para i-boost ang morale ng ating manggagawa [We will utilize the social media to boost the morale of our workers],” he said.

Siguro may tatayo sa kalye mga 10 o 20 na may mga social distancing, nakamaskara at may mga placards. Iyon ay ibi-video, iyon ay lilitratuhan at ipo-post sa social media, [There may be about 10 or 20 persons who will go out in the streets but with social distancing, face masks and placards. That will be captured in video, pictures and posted on social media],” he added.

Tanjusay noted that more than 5 million workers have been affected since the implementation of the ECQ due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He added that these workers cannot be certain if they will be able to return to their previous employment given the impact of the health crisis on their respective employers. 

The crisis is also seen to cause contractual employment to soar as more and more employers are opting for ‘work-from-home’ arrangements which will save them money as they will no longer pay for transportation allowances and other employment benefits such as SSS and PagIbig premiums. 

Kung work-from-home ka, babayaran lang kita kung ano ang inutos ko sa’yo, [If you are working from home, I will only pay you for a specific job that I asked you to do,]” Tanjusay said.

For example, kung nag-utos ko sayo na magtrabaho ka lang ng 3 oras, babayaran lang kita ng 3 oras hindi 8 hours, [For example, I asked you to work for 3 hours, I will pay you for your 3-hour work, not for a regular 8-hour job,]” he added.

ALU-TUCP has a pending request for wage increase in Congress following suspension of public hearing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

ECOP: manufacturing exodus likely if EO outlaws ‘endo’

admin   •   April 19, 2018

 Contractual jobs in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Employer Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has expressed concerns about possible consequences once Malacañang releases the executive order on contractualization.

According to ECOP chairman Donald Dee, manufacturers may possibly move their operations to other countries.

“If we continue or if we listen to these out of this world proposal of labor, what we will see is an exodus of our manufacturing industry. Kasi hindi naman kami magsasara (We wouldn’t be closing our business). What we will do is, instead of working in the Philippines, we’ll work in the ASEAN countries,” the chairman said.

However, labor groups still hope that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the EO against contract labor before May 1, Labor Day.

Currently, the Palace is studying the three drafts of the proposal: the labor version, the business group’s version, and the labor department’s version.

The Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) believes that if the president will consolidate the three versions of the EO, their provisions will be included.

“Yung mga for example, ‘yung mga nasa hotel and restaurant industry, mag-iidentify sila ng mga jobs na pwedeng contractual and kung ano ‘yung mga jobs na hindi pwedeng contractual,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

(For example, the hotel and restaurant industry will identify jobs that can be contractual and jobs that cannot be contractual.)

The group had previously said their actions on Labor Day will depend uon the decision of the Palace. — UNTV News & Rescue

Labor groups await signing of EO vs. ‘endo’

admin   •   April 16, 2018

NO TO CONTRACT LABOR: Rallyists protest against contractualization in the country.

MANILA, Philippines — The labor sector is expecting President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the executive order on contractualization today, April 16.

According to Associated Labor Unions- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, they already submitted to Malacañang last Friday the draft EO wherein they have already agreed on certain exemptions rather than a total ban on contractualization in the country.

The draft EO lists a number of jobs that can be exempted from “endo,” (end of contract) 555, or seasonal and contractual schemes of employment.

“Binago namin ang aming posisyon from total ban to provide him some exemptions. Natapos na yung executive order na nagbibigay ng exemptions kung kaya’t malakas ang loob namin na katanggap-tanggap na ito kay Pangulong Duterte,” he said.

(We changed our position from total ban to provide him some exemptions. The executive order that allows exemptions has been finalized that is why we are confident that President [Rodrigo] Duterte would find it acceptable.)

Tanjusay believes that the order would benefit around 28 million contractual workers in the country, primarily those who work in malls and in the food service sector.
However, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is still unsure if the President would sign the EO.

Should the Chief Executive refuse to do so, he could still certify a proposal on the matter to Congress.

“Hindi tayo sigurado na pipirmahan niya,” Bello noted.

The labor group said the EO is their last position and the President’s decision is a vital consideration in their proposed program for Labor Day on May 1. — UNTV News & Rescue

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