Tag Archives: contractualization

Big workers’ groups press for end to contractualization, wage increase

Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)–the largest labor groups in the country, convened on the eve of Labor Day to reiterate calls for an end to contractualization and push for the enactment of a Security of Tenure Law, while calling for increase in wages nationwide.

“We have long and consistently called for a just end to pervasive contractualization of labor, yet the practice of labor-only contracting, job-only contracting and other forms of flexible labor remain prevalent among the working people,” said Elmer Labog, chairperson of KMU.

Congress has nine more session days after the elections. Newly-elected legislators won’t begin their terms until after June 30. “The labor movement will defend workers’ rights to the last. With enough political will, President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in the Senate can still have a Security of Tenure Law enacted during this Congress,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa.

Nagkaisa and KMU were together at the Senate in early February during the last few session days prior to the recess of Congress as they mounted pressure on the Senate to pass the Security of Tenure Bill.

“This will definitely continue the pressure on the Senate, especially its reelectionist senators to openly declare either their support or opposition to the proposed End Endo Law,” Matula said.

Ending contractualization is one of the biggest promises of President Rodrigo Duterte. Many believe it was one of the issues that catapulted him to the presidency among the working people in the public and private sectors.

“Two issuances under President Duterte’s watch—DOLE Department Order 174 in 2017 and Executive Order 51 on Labor Day last year—failed to solve, and perhaps worsened contractualization,” Labog said. Duterte then certified as urgent the SOT Bill. The Senate has not passed a Security of Tenure Bill despite also getting the commitment of Senate President Tito Sotto.

The Filipino workers unity will thrive and translate into votes and campaigns against contractualization and opponents of workers’ rights and benefits in the present and next Congress. “Filipino workers are proposing to clamp down on labor-only contractors by having a new law declaring labor-only contracting illegal, irrespective of a manpower agency’s capitalization or investment in equipment, and imposing heftier fines on erring employers and manpower agencies, way beyond the mere P1,000.00 that present laws provide,” Matula said.

“This is unacceptable. We cannot legitimize labor-only contractors, who do nothing but recruit and deploy workers, yet maintain supervision over contractual workers on paper. They connive with principal business owners to deprive workers of security of tenure and other basic labor rights, while avoiding legal and financial obligations,” Labog said.

House Bill 6908 on Security of Tenure was passed early this 17th Congress. Its counterpart measure, Senate Bill 1826 has yet to be passed on second reading. “The passage of the Bill is the necessary first step in changing the law towards prohibiting contractualization. While it may not result in the total ban on contractualization, we find it critical to put a stop to conditions that promote precarious work,” Matula said.

“Failure to enact a law that will end contractualization will be on the hands of the Senate. It will go down as ‘a legacy of failure’ and one of the greatest unfulfilled promises of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Labog said. The groups also said that government as an employer should walk the talk.

The nationwide unity of workers also calls for an increase in wages, especially the fulfillment of a national minimum wage, a stop to all attacks against workers and the full recognition of workers’ rights, especially the right to organize.

“A significant wage hike is long overdue. The sharp increase in inflation and cost of living has already eroded the value of existing wages. We call for an immediate wage increase, and a national minimum wage for all workers in the country,” Labog said.

Labor groups Kilos na Manggagawa, Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) and BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) already filed wage hike petitions before the NCR Regional Wage Board last week. TUCP filed a wage hike petition yesterday.

Charter Change: Changing the rules to allow dictatorship

NO TO CHA-CHA Militants call for a stop to Charter change, which they fear will lead to a “revolutionary government” and dictatorship as they march toward the Edsa People Power Monument. —ALEXIS CORPUZ

Opening the 1987 Constitution to amendments via a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) will only enable the few to forward their own interests, allow the President and other incumbents to stay in power beyond their terms, or establish a transitional or permanent dictator along the way.

On July 9, 2018, a draft federal constitution was submitted by the Consultative Committee to the President. The ConCom’s Bayanihan Federalism draft is in addition to earlier drafts, including that from the PDP-Laban and the congressmen’s own House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 9. All these set the stage for the opening of the 1987 Constitution to amendments – all via a Constituent Assembly as it is the fastest and least costly mode preferred by the President.

These proposals contain transitory provisions that allow the sitting President to exercise dictatorial powers during the transition. We have no doubt the current members of the Lower House who will comprise the absolute majority ConAss will grant the wish of President Duterte as the same agenda also feeds their interest of extending their terms during the transition.

On July 23, 2018, the President will deliver his annual State of the Nation Address to Congress—both the House of Representatives and Senate—where we expect Duterte’s Charter Change and Federalism to take center stage.

We, from the Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa or Kalipunan, a coalition of movements from farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, labor, women, urban poor, environmental activists, youth, and students join the broader movement against dictatorship in the United People’s SONA where ordinary citizens take center stage and speak about issues that Duterte has set aside.

We stand in solidarity with social movements of different leanings, and the religious to condemn Duterte’s Charter Change as a grave danger to democracy and doubt the proposed revisions will actually result to a truly humane and just society. Charter Change will only cement Duterte’s Dictatorship, to the detriment of basic sectors of society.

KALIPUNAN looks no further from Duterte’s failed promises and dismal track record in the past two years for proof:

1. On Contractualization: Despite strong statements that the President will completely end contractualization, this labor practice continues to be the rule rather than the exception in many workplaces.

2. On TRAIN and Inflation: Further aggravated by the effects of TRAIN Law, the inflation rate has ballooned to 5.2% causing prices of basic goods and services to increase. In addition, the effects of the trillion-peso loan from China to our economy have yet to be seen.

3. On the West Philippine Sea: His failure to enforce the Hague ruling has allowed Chinese military bases to be installed in the West Philippine Sea, and for Chinese fishers to trample on the rights of local fishers from Zambales and Pangasinan.

4. On Rural Economies: There continues to be a lack of a National Land Use Policy that enables local government units and private real estate developers to convert prime irrigable and irrigated lands to commercial lands that affect farmers’ livelihoods. The lifting of the Quantitative Restrictions (QR) on rice, and in its place the government’s proposal to fully liberalize the rice industry also threatens food sovereignty and the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers.

5. On Mining and the Environment: Mining companies continue to operate in protected areas and ancestral lands; coupled with an outdated Philippine Mining Act, most mining operations in the country not only disregard getting the free and prior informed consent of indigenous peoples but also worsen environmental degradation.

6. On the War on Drugs: He has waged a bloody “war on drugs” that has resulted in the proliferation of killings in the country. From July 1, 2016, to June 11, 2018; the police has recorded 4,279 suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations and 23, 518 homicide cases under investigation.

7. On Violence against Women: Duterte’s misogyny and vilification of women have created a culture that promulgates violence against women.

Clearly, Duterte has failed to deliver on his promises. Will this chacha change the state of things where he failed during the past two years?

These proposals to revise the constitution are not the answers to the people’s concerns. Charter Change will only serve to legitimize the rule of the few and divert the government’s attention from addressing pressing issues basic sectors face.

For this reason, the Kalipunan will join the historic gathering of different groups and organizations on the day of SONA. We call on all to join this historic United People’s SONA to hold our government leaders accountable, especially Duterte, in failing to address the concerns of our people and uphold freedom, social justice, and democracy.

Statement of Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa
14 July 2018

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD-Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas

Delete Anti-Labor Phrase in the BBL

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The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) is appealing to the Senators for the removal of the phrase “in accordance with the law to be passed by the Bangsamoro parliament” in the BBL, referring to the fundamental rights of the workers.

The offending phrase is in section 10 on labor rights under Senate Bill 1717, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law currently under deliberation in the Senate.

“While we support the enactment of the proposed legislation, we are disturbed at the notion that a universal and fundamental right such as workers’ rights would be subject to the whims of a regional government,” Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO said in a statement.

The placement of the phrase is also critical as it was formulated to include key phrases such as the right to self-organization, collective bargaining agreement, and the right to strike, the labor leader said. The formulation is such that these rights would be contingent on the interests of the future parliament, which may not necessarily be in favor of the working people.

According to Mata, if global experience is an indicator, a decentralized judiciary and policy making on labor standards do not inspire confidence, consistency of implementation, or hope of protection.

Experiences in India and Pakistan show that the imposition of national laws regarding labor rights hardly happen in their autonomous regions because the local elites would usually invoke “regional autonomy,” Mata said. In the United States of America, most well-known country with decentralized governments, 28 states have imposed Right to Work legislation that prohibits union security clauses in collective bargaining, thereby weakening the labor movement.

There is no reason why the same thing could not happen in the Philippines. The weakening of the central government’s capacity to regulate erring local elites amidst entrenched political dynasties, the impunity of local political magnates is pretty much guaranteed. The local labor movement will be left without any recourse or support from any other level of government, considering the very possible invocation “domestic concerns” as a ready excuse.

Indeed, we see a grim horizon for the labor movement should the offensive phrase in the BBL is retained.

Mata also noted that the proponents of indigenous people’s rights succeeded in convincing lawmakers to put stronger provisions protective of their rights by specifically invoking the IPRA Law. “If they can ensure incorporation of IPRA, then why can’t they do the same with labor,” he added.

DO30 in Breach of DU30’s Campaign Promise, Workers’ Reiterate Call to End all Forms of Contractualization

End Endo, Not People's Lives

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President Duterte made these pledge before the Filipino people when he was campaigning for the Presidency:

“The moment I assume the Presidency, contractualization will stop. They have to stop it.”

“What I will do is call the Speaker and the Senate President after their elections and everybody, may constitution na doon, internal, then I will call on mostly the majority, mga Liberal congressmen, you pass this bill immediately. Senate, sabihin ko, I need it first week of my administration.”

And he stood firm and stubborn in pushing for this platform upon assumption to office, up to the point of threatening big companies to close their plants if they don’t comply.

“You will not just lose money, you will also lose pants. No tolerance ako dito, ito ang pangako ko sa tao. Stop contractualization. It will not do good to our country. Huwag na ninyong hintayin na mahuli kayo ni Sec. Bello. Kapag nalaman ko, I will simply close your plant and I can find a thousand reason to do it.

He even threatened to shot businessmen who practice endo or contractualization.

“I am warning you, you choose: stop contractualization or I will kill you. You know why… I am the President. I am here. I have immunity.”

Many people may have been accustomed to President Duterte’s use of hyperbole in driving a point. But for workers, the epidemic of contractualization has really gone out of proportion – a plague that warrants absolute containment in order to save the present and future generation of workers, the women and the youth.

Zero tolerance, therefore, is the correct and strategic policy change to pursue.

Now, is the impending issuance of Department Order No. 30 (DO30) in line with the early pronouncements of the President and in accordance with workers’ unanimous demand to end all forms of contractualization? NO!

DO30 falls short of what has been promised by DU30. It will only perpetuate contractualization. No wonder that the employers and the manning agencies are celebrating it!

Workers do not deserve this odious holiday and year-ender present from the government.

In digest, the new DO simply simulated in new fashion the framework of recognizing trilateral employment relations. It perpetuates the failed logic of regulation which, during the last several decades, has allowed and legitimized the business of labor contractualization done in many ways and in different forms.

This has to stop. The perpetuation of trilateral employment relation, which DO30 continues to recognize in the form of job/service contracting of specialized, project and seasonal jobs, is more of a system upgrade rather than a change in the policy itself. Hence, we denounce it as UNACCEPTABLE.

Ayaw namin ng mga middleman, sa anyo ng mga agency at cooperative, na ginagawang negosyo ang pangangalakal ng aming lakas paggawa. Nais namin ay DIRECT HIRING at ipagbawal ang FIXED-TERM employment.

Thus, if the President was really true to his campaign promise and to the commitment he made to end contractualization upon his assumption to office, we call on him to set aside DO30 for reasons cited above, notwithstanding its failure to secure acceptance from labor groups as well as endorsement from the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC).

We request that the President hold a personal dialogue with labor leaders to exchange ideas on how to really end endo. And in the meantime, in the absence of a new DO or a new law, the President should likewise consider issuing an Executive Order that expressly prohibits all forms of contractualization, or certify as an urgent administration measure the enactment of HB 4444 (Mendoza, TUCP PL) that seeks to prohibit and criminalize contractualization.

Matatapos na ang taong 2016 sa susunod na dalawang araw. Ang kontraktwalisasyon kailan pa ba magwawakas?

Big Labor Alliance: Time to End Regionalization and Setting of Wages to Barest Minimum

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

It is the right of every Filipino to live a life of dignity as well as to quality standard of living. And for this national vision to be realized, the 1987 Constitution directed the State to provide labor full protection and ensure the right of workers and their families to a living wage.

Regrettably over the years since the Constitution was ratified, the workers’ demand for a family living wage was never addressed as previous governments deviated towards regionalization and the containment of wages to the barest minimum. This deviation consequently created wide gaps in wage levels all over the country as wage fixing mechanism now seeks the lowest level of balance in every region where the market clearing price of labor is primarily determined on the basis of employer’s capacity to pay rather than on the worker’s right to a living wage. The same problem can be seen in different wage levels in the public sector despite the salary standardization program.

As a result, this minimum wage and regionalization policy created the condition of chronic poverty and deepening inequality in the country as millions of workers were consigned to an imposed reality of sustaining their families on wages that can hardly meet even half of the daily cost of living.

We, the NAGKAISA, therefore, take as delighting news the planned nationalization of the minimum wage announced recently by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello. It is because of our long-standing position that poverty knows no boundary while inequality is the despicable outcome of unfair distribution of national wealth. This deformed policy clearly needs to be rectified, now!

However, we always consider as mere government propaganda a major pronouncement that is left without form at the policy level. That, certainly, is what happened to the living wage principle that lay lifeless in the Constitution during the last three decades. But since the new administration has made a pledge to rectify the errors of the previous administrations, stopping the plague of contractualization and realizing the living wage were core issues that NAGKAISA and the government can work together in achieving a common goal.

At this particular juncture, the NAGKAISA labor coalition gladly presumes that the Duterte administration remains committed to the principle of living wage and that its planned nationalization of minimum wage will lead towards the ultimate realization of this social objective. Workers, in the first place, deserve not a minimum wage but a fair share in the product of their labor.

Hence, in line with the pronouncement of Secretary Bello, the NAGKAISA is looking forward soon to an Order, or something to that effect, going to be issued by Malacanang. We are looking forward to an instruction to all regional wage boards to issue a uniform wage order that is based on Metro Manila rate. And we are, at the same time, looking forward to a Palace-endorsed or certified bill in Congress seeking the same and eventually the repeal of the existing Wage Rationalization Act.

The NAGKAISA also strongly believe on the principle of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value not just on private sector workers but for those government employees who are in the same bind. In the same breath, the NAGKAISA call on the government for the uniform application and implementation of Salary Standardization Law to all local government units (LGUs).

It is high time to stop the spiral race to the bottom by ending the regionalization and setting of wages to the barest minimum now. The NAGKAISA believes this can be done especially when government will treat the labor movement as main partner to this enormous reform tasks.

Therefore, we urge the government to instruct all regional wage boards to issue a uniform wage order the rate of which is based on Metro Manila. We call on government to certify a bill in Congress seeking the same and, eventually, the repeal of the existing Wage Rationalization Act. The NAGKAISA, likewise, call on the government for the uniform application and implementation of Salary Standardization Law to all local government units (LGUs).

About NAGKAISA

Issue-based NAGKAISA labor coalition is composed of 47 labor federations, workers organizations in public and private sectors and various urban and peasants groups. The group came together in April 2012 to advocate for workers’ living wage, promote security of tenure, to lower the cost and ensure reliable supply of power, and for public sector workers to be allowed to form unions and collectively bargain.

The members of the NAGKAISA are: Alliance of Free Workers (AFW) , All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal, Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers’Union (ALU-PSU), ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS), Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions (FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan sa Paggawa (KILUSAN), Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).

Sentro welcomes pres’l bets raising the ‘endo’ issue, dares them to present concrete steps to curb contractualization

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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.