The alleged “Win-Win Solution” to Endo is an absolute farce

End Contractualization

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The so-called “Win-Win Solution” now being peddled by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is nothing but a farce!

This is the response of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) to the claims of DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez in a briefing last Friday, 17 September 2016. The secretary reportedly said that a way to solve the problem is through outsourcing wherein a company taps a service provider or an agency for the supply of workers on a project basis. The service provider would hire the workers as regular employees.

The problem is, even if service providers hire employees as regular workers, their employment would continue to remain precariously dependent on the whims of the principal employer who, at any time, could decide to change service providers.

“It is obviously a win-win for the unscrupulous employers and the fake employers – the subcontractors, including those posing as ‘labor/manpower cooperatives’,” Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO, said. “It is a lose-lose situation for workers and their families,” he added.

It is quite unfortunate that while President Dutere expressed on many occasions that he wants to end contractualization, DTI is now trying to perversely justify the use of illegal subcontracting, under the guise that the subcontractors will be the ones to ensure and guarantee the end of ENDO.

The truth is, the iniquitous insertion of the “cooperative” and the “legitimate service contractor” on the employment arrangements would always allow employers to disguise their employee-employer relations. This is why the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the subcontracting practices that these sectors seek to legitimize are in fact illegal even under DOLE Department Order D.O. 18-03. But due to the provisions on registration and capitalization contained in the said DO, they were able to twist the regulation in a manner inconsistent with the Labor Code.

It is now clear that DO-18-03 has failed. Instead of containing the proliferation of contractualization, it has made it more widespread. It is thus imperative to repeal the DO-18-03 and replace it with one that would unequivocally prohibit all forms of subcontracting and ENDO practices.

The new rule should be simple: All contracting and subcontracting arrangements should hereby be declared strictly prohibited. And any employer engaged in contracting and subcontracting shall automatically be considered as the subcontracted worker’s direct employer.

“We have tried regulating contractualization for decades and we failed,” Mata said. “Now it is time to prohibit it,” he added.

But even a new Department Order would not be sufficient to solve the problem. We need a new law that would strengthen the constitutional guarantee for security of tenure for all workers, be they in the public and private sectors.

We thus earnestly call on Secretary Sylvestre Bello III to enforce the campaign promise of President Duterte to end contractualization and immediately replace D.O. 18-03, Series of 2011 with a new department order that would prohibit all forms of subcontracting.

We call on President Duterte live up to his promise of ending contractualization by certifying as urgent a bill that would strengthen the constitutional right to security of tenure.

Then and only then can we end Endo in all its forms!

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