Duterte had 5 months to end Endo but failed – labor NGO

The Duterte administration had five months to end labor contractualization or the “endo scheme” but rampant hiring of temporary workers by companies via manpower agencies continues, according to a labor nongovernment organization.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has repeatedly vowed to address the issue of short-term hiring, no significant change has happened.

“If Duterte were a contractual worker, he would have been kicked out for the time that passed and for failing to deliver his promise to end contractualization,” said EILER Deputy Executive Director Rochelle Porras. “Efforts of the labor department such as the issuance of Department Order 162 and the holding of labor summits across the country make it appear that something is being done but in fact, these are just moves to appease the growing clamor to end contractualization,” she added.

The labor NGO noted that DOLE’s DO 162 only banned the issuance of licenses to new contractors and left already registered contractors untouched. The so-called “win-win solution” by Secretary Silvestre Bello III meanwhile is a rehash of Aquino’s Department Order 18-A or the order legalizing the use of contractors and subcontractors.

EILER said that under the win-win solution, contractual workers will only be regularized with the agencies and not with the principal employers. The labor NGO also expresses dismay over the pronouncement of Secretary Bello on the release of DO 30 on December 28. The new DO is set to be an improvement of DO 18-A, but this kind of reform is far from the workers’ demand to repeal all department orders and policies allowing labor contractualization in the country.

“In addition, the recently held Labor Summit became ‘Labor Sabit’, with labor representatives serving as mere attachments to the “win-win” solution to make it appear that it has the nod of workers. In reality, the solution is a double victory for capitalists and the government,” Porras said.

The labor institute also noted that DOLE mulled at inspecting retail giant and contractualization king SM owned by Henry Sy, but so far not a single inspection of SM malls has materialized.

Actual cases:

  • On June 22, 2015DOLE decided that the103 workers of Tanduay Distillers Inc. should be regularized, but untiltoday, their struggle continues as business tycoon Lucio Tan rejects this decision with the aid of local government and goons.
  • Sorosoro Ibaba Development Corporation (SIDC)in Batangas City has more than 300 regular and 300 contractual workers.They won a back-to-work order in favor of the dismissed contractuals, but this is not implemented as DOLEhas not yet issued the implementation order.
  • Manila Cordage Corporationand Manco Synthetics Inc.(MCC-MSI) have 461 workers, 400 of which are contractuals (employed by agencies), deemed illegal according to DOLE. However, this declaration was conveniently neglected by the Labor Arbiter in denying their union recognition after the certification election (CE) and they went on strike on May 4.
  • Ninety-eight workers ofSamahang Manggagawa ng Golden Fortune Workers Union-NFWUwent on strike two years ago, because the management preempted the formation of their union. The building they constructed is already finished, but their picket continues. The labor department recently ordered 14 of the workers to report back for work but without an implementation order.
  • Workers ofTopboss Plastics Corporationwere forming their union. Although some have already worked for the company through an agency for up to 10 years, they still have to sign every five months a new contract of employment. Three days before their certification election (CE) on July 3, the company closed shop.

These concrete examples show that contractualization continues to burden workers and violate their rights. Moreover, theseexpose that the promises of the current administration don’t hold much ground as no concrete implementation plans had been laid out in favor of the workers.

“The solution proposed is truly a win-win for both private sector and the government and not for the Filipino workers who remains shackled to low wages, unstable employment and are denied of union and bargaining rights,” Porras added. “What will bring genuine change to the workers’ conditions are the banning of all forms of contractualization, regularization of workers and the passing of a national minimum wage.” #

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER)

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