Labor hesitant about Palace Meeting sans knowledge of final EO version


“We are not sure if we will go to the meeting with the President as we don’t know which version of the Executive Order (EO) Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is once again peddling,” Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said in a hastily called press conference following reports of a much delayed meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte happening in mid-April.

President Duterte, in a meeting with labor leaders on February 27, promised that he and his legal team will look into the workers’ draft EO submitted jointly by Nagkaisa and Kilusang Mayo Uno with the support of the National Anti-Poverty Commission. He promised to sign the issuance by March 15, to no avail.

“The truth is, the Secretary has been obstructing our efforts these past few years. He has been misleading the president and has been fooling the public by twisting labor’s position and making it appear we are unreasonable,” Nagkaisa said.

“The workers’ draft has moved from total prohibition of contractualization to a framework of prohibition of contractualization that would allow certain exemptions for contracting out of work, but subject to the decision of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.” Nagkaisa added.

Photo by: Del Banares

“We abhor the abuse and exploitation of workers through contractualization as it has become the convenient excuse of unscrupulous employers and manpower agencies and pseudo cooperatives to pay low wages, disregard social protection, bust unions and fire workers at will. We believed the President share these abhorrence with irresponsible employers,” Nagkaisa added.

Nagkaisa calls on government to decide where its policy on addressing contractualization stands. “Is it for more profits to employers at the expense of workers’ rights and welfare; or adhering to state guarantees of providing full protection to workers’ rights and welfare that would bring about sustainable growth to the economy?”

“Secretary Bello shamelessly foisted that labor is calling for the total prohibition of contractualization and deliberately misled the public and the President that workers are hardlining and demanding the impossible. He obstructed and derailed the democratic processing of an EO,” Nagkaisa added.

“He has acted beyond the pale and has shown to what depths he will unconscionably betray his sworn trust and the public interest. He must now disclose what this purported April 16 EO contains. It is something we have never seen,” said Nagkaisa.

Nagkaisa only learned about a supposed new round of meetings in Malacañang via news reports as no official invitations and meeting agenda have been received by any labor group.#

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