AFTER being ignored as a pressing problem for so long, the “endo” or rampant contract labor has finally been elevated to a more mainstream issue when all the five presidential candidates acknowledged and openly opposed it during their third and last debate yesterday that was broadcast live nationwide.
The national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, however, challenged the presidential bets to present detailed measures on how to end the worsening “end-of-contract” (endo) labor or contractualization and not just spout motherhood statements or good sound bites to gain votes.
“The trade unions have been campaigning against ‘endo’ or contractualization for many years now, and closely linked to this, we have also pushed for the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill in Congress. But it has repeatedly been blocked by Big Business and their allies in the past three Congresses already and it has languished there for almost 10 years now,” Josua Mata, Sentro secretary general, said.
“Since all of the presidential hopefuls are incumbent government officials in the legislative as well asthe national and local executive branches, which provide them at least a stronger platform to fight ‘endo’ practices, we wonder what they have been doing before regarding this issue or why they have to wait for the upcoming elections or the presidential debates to express their supposed opposition to contractualization,” Mata asked.
Aside from low pays and scarce benefits that burden the vast majority of Filipino workers, a rapidly growing number of the labor force is driven to contractualization or precarious work arrangements, including the “endo” or “5-5-5” scheme, where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from having permanent or regular employment status, Sentro revealed.
This highly exploitative and illegal tactic enables unscrupulous employers to avoid giving mandatory bonuses and other benefits to would-be regular workers, and contractual employees are likewise not allowed to join unions, which in turn can negotiate for higher wages and additional benefits and ensure many other rights for union members, Sentro explained.