Category Archives: End Contractualization

ENDO to survive beyond Duterte’s Administration sans Security of Tenure Law – SENTRO

Endo or labor only contracting will survive well beyond the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte unless the Security of Tenure (SOT) is certified as urgent, a labor group said on Tuesday, citing wrong data the president used during the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

During SONA, Mr. Duterte claimed that his campaign against endo resulted in the regularization of more than 300,000 workers as of early July.

According to the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) however, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has actually reported that they regularized only 182,915 as of June this year.

What Mr. Duterte might be saying perhaps is DOLE’s target to regularize workers for this year is 300,000.

“So, either the pool of speechwriters committed error because they had to rush a new speech due to the tussle in Lower House leadership or the Mr. Duterte was too eager to claim something that’s not yet accomplished,” Josua Mata, Sentro’s Secretary General said.

Mata said that he tend to believe it’s the case of the latter rather than the former. After all, Mr. Dutette has yet to deliver a single accomplishment from his myriad of campaign promises.

But even DOLE’s claim of some 182 thousand regularized is problematic, the labor leader said.

First, the labor department has yet to prove that the number they are claiming in their press releases are actually regularized workers or the number correspond only to the number they expect to be regularized based on the compliance orders they have issued. “We know for a fact that tens of thousands of workers ordered to be regularized are still waiting for its actual implantation,” Mata said. “Some have already been sacked while their cases are appealed by their companies,” Mata elaborated.

Secondly, Mata said the DOLE has yet to disaggregate those workers regularized with the principal company from those regularized under manning agencies. “We believe that most were regularized in manning agencies as that’s the policy direction taken by DOLE under DO 174, as strengthened by EO 51,” Mata said. “And that’s a bogus regularization,” he added.

“We are not against the DOLE’s drive to regularized workers,” Mata clarified. “But such efforts would only give false hopes to workers unless the Security of Tenure Bill is passed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mata asserted that the much hyped 300,000 target for regularization pale in comparison to the estimated 1.2 million contractual workers. By DOLE’s own estimation, that would be only 15 percent of the total number of workers employed without any semblance of protection. Truth is, the 1.2 million used by DOLE was low estimate. If the high estimate of 5.1 million is used, then the target of 300,000 is only 3.5 percent.

Endo would indeed outlive the Duterte Regime if it ends by 2022.

The LEARN Research Institute showed in a press briefing that non-regular workers among the wage and salary earners would range from a low estimate of 1.19 million in 2016, plus 705,251 agency hired, based on the 2016 Philippine Statistics Authority Integrated Survey on Employment, to a high estimate of 5.1 million if one uses the Labor Force Survey of 2016.

Finally, Mata said that while Mr. Duterte’s declaration during his SONA that he is adding his voice in asking the Congress to “end the practice of endo once and for all” sounds cute in a speech, workers would still prefer a written certification of urgency for the passage of the SOT should some pro-employer Senators fail to read his statement as a marching order.

United Labor SONA : The Real State of Labor under Duterte Exposed

A few days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), the labor sector once again showcased working class unity. The country’s major labor centers under the Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) presented the real state of Filipino workers to media under the two years of President Duterte.

“No end to ENDO. Run over by TRAIN. Waiting in vain for a significant wage increase. Labor rights violated.” This in a nutshell is how Nagkaisa! and KMU described the sorry state of workers for the past two years.

Contractualization

“Government put one over workers,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said. “Failing to address the issue of contractualization, government tries to cover up the failure to deliver the promise of ending contractualization by citing empty statistics,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello claims that the government has helped regularize 180,000+ workers, and that DOLE will regularize 300,000 more within the year. “This is false if not empty. The truth, is that the number of contractual workers is rising, even based on the government’s own data,” labor groups Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“This has led to the massive termination of contractual workers as seen in the cases of PAL and PLDT where ‘endolords’ refused to implement the DOLE regularization order and instead laid-off over 12,000 of its workers.

This is also the case in Jollibee Foods Corporation, NutriAsia, and other companies that have been found practicing Labor Only Contracting,” KMU and Nagkaisa said. “Without the President’s decisive action, contractualization will persist,” the groups added.

Despite DOLE’s DO 174 — and Duterte’s EO 51, which bars companies from firing contractual employees covered by DOLE regularization orders — PLDT and other violators have faced no penalty for their non-compliance.

“Almost three months after Labor Day, when he said a law is needed to end contractualization, the President has not certified as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill. The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill is also in limbo,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

Wages

“The wage system remains the same with no concrete plans to institute reforms,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“The President himself promised to remove provincial wage rates in favor of calls of workers for a national minimum wage (NMW), yet the government has openly opposed the passage of National Minimum Wage (NMW) bills such as House Bill 7787 and other proposed legislation increasing wages,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

The record high inflation rate of over 5% over the past five months resulting from “the rampaging TRAIN law has run over the poor.” Additional excise taxes and coverage of VAT have further devaluated the meager wage rates across the country,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

Instead of wage hike, Duterte gave us unabated price hikes. Thanks to the anti-people TRAIN law, Filipino workers are feeling the brunt of rising costs of basic goods and services, including food, transport, electricity, and water. To distract from the reality of how the TRAIN law further pressed down the value of wages in the country, the government implemented meager wage hikes through nine regional wage boards.

These increases would not even bring our wages any closer to the P40,000 monthly cost of living begrudgingly proposed by NEDA as the budget for the average Filipino family. Even by the government’s own calculations, wages are insufficient for decent living.

Rights

“Basic labor rights violations are rampant. At EPZA, workers have been treated as wanted criminals for union organizing activities, while investors enjoy all the privileges and protection,” Nagkaisa ang KMU said.

The same continues to happen in Mindanao.

“Workers from companies such as Sumifru, Shin Sun, and Freshmax have been harassed through union-busting, terrorist tagging and even paraded as fake rebel surenderees,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

“In many similar cases, such as that of Coke, NutriAsia, Core Asia, and Middleby, it’s the workers themselves who end up being harassed, treated as criminals, and violently dispersed by state security forces,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

“The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) has reported the death of 30 labor leaders in the past two years, with a number getting illegally arrested, filed with trumped-up charges and are branded as common criminals,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

Urban poor communities, where many workers live, continue to be anxious about the threat to their rights and liberty.

“In the near future, things might get worse should the proposed charter change that missed out on workers’ rights in the original draft and shift to federalism as it is proposed, come into fruition,” the labor groups said, whose combined membership make up the bulk of organized labor in the Philippines.

The cycle of unfulfilled promises–old and new–continue to hound workers.

It is in the hands of workers, as to where to take the continuing struggle for workers’ rights. Trade unions, organizations and institutions have banded together in a scale not seen since the 80’s. The unity we have forged highlighted by the joint actions since before Labor Day and continue to nurture, will all the more inspire us to work towards a common agenda.

Workers urge gov’t to certify tenure bill as urgent

The workers belonging to Sentro ng mga Progresibo at Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (Sentro) are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the Security of Tenure Bill as urgent, as the Executive Order 51 failed to address contractualization.

The House of Representatives has already passed HB House Bill 6908, or “An Act Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Workers, amending for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the ‘Labor Code of the Philippines and the Senate has filed its S.B. 1826.

However, “experience show that without direction from the executive department, the Congress will not enact an important law in due time,” according to Hessel Larcia, Sentro NCR Chair.

According to Larcia, “there is only nine months remaining for the current 17th Congress and the obsolete and anti-workers Marcos-era law which was responsible for contractualization will persist and will continue to pester the workers should the government fail to pass the SOT.”

“As we have anticipated, the employers will just challenge at the Supreme Court DOLE’s orders for regularization sans a clear EO prohibiting it and a SOT breezing its way at Congress,” Larcia said.

Larcia also added that “since the president failed to honor his promise to put an end to endo immediately via an executive order, the next best thing that he can do is at least certify the SOT Bill as urgent.”

The workers are hoping that Duterte will announce his intention to certify the SOT Bill as urgent during his 3rd State of the Nation Address on July 23, 2018.

The group also believes that security of employment is an effective tool to encourage more productivity, citing a recent survey conducted by Swiss-based business school International Institute for Management Development (IMD), the Philippines came 50th in a list of 63 countries in the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook.

This was “a drop of nine places from its rank of 41st in 2017, and it was highlighted as the biggest drop experienced by an Asian country in the rankings. The Philippines is now the lowest ranked Southeast Asian country among the five included in the rankings as well as the second lowest among the 14 Asia-Pacific countries in the list” the report said.

“The employers and capitalist had always monopolized the dynamics of industrial relations by allowing them to dictate even regularization of their workers and this has to stop,” he added.

Filipino workers among the most at risk anywhere in the world – SENTRO

Despite assurances of protection from local and national laws, including international agreements, Filipino workers are living the most perilous time in their own country and in almost all other countries they are working as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), labor group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) said over the weekend.

In its annual global report released last week, the International Trade Union Confederation has placed the Philippines and the majority of countries where OFWs are eking their living, under category five, which is a rating for the worst countries in the world to work in.

The report said that, “while the legislation may spell out certain rights, workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.”

“What is notable in this report is that the Philippines is included in a long list of countries whose current regimes do not actively respect workers’ rights. Hence, despite the existence of national law and being signatories to international laws on labor, the workers’ safety and protection of their rights are not guaranteed,” said Josua Mata, Secretary General of Sentro.

According to Mata, these include Bahrain, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates which are all major destinations for OFWs, “which means Filipino workers are really screwed up in and outside of their country.”

“The problem is, our own government do have the moral ascendancy to demand rights for our workers abroad when the Philippine government itself can’t protect its own citizens,” Mata explained. “It can’t even guarantee the fundamental rights of its own workers in its home country,” Mata added.

Another notable aspect of the report is that it included the Philippines as one of the top 10 worst countries in the world for the workers, saying “in a context of extreme state violence and suppression of civil liberties, workers and trade unionists in the Philippines faced threats and intimidation.”

SENTRO suffered the first trade union killing under the administration of Mr. Duterte when Lando Abangan, a trade union and community organizer, was gunned down in Naga, Cebu, last 17 September 2016. Several other trade union and peasant leaders have been killed since then.

The greatest challenge Filipino workers are facing explained Mata, “is the destruction of the collective bargaining capacities of unions through violent reprisals against workers union-building capacities and the weakening of the labor movement in general by not regularizing the workers thus preventing the workers from joining labor movement.”

So long as trade union killings remain unresolved, so long as employers can abuse contractualization, the violent repression of workers’ rights in the country will continue with impunity.

“Mr. Duterte should now realize the folly of listening to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) when he issued EO 51. Rather than realize his campaign promise to end contractualization, the issuance only further legitimized the problem,” Mata said. “This will ensure that the Philippines will maintain next year its notorious distinction as one of the top ten worst countries for workers to work in,” Mata also added.