By: Roy Bersales
LABOR Secretary Sylvestre Bello III admitted that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has no legal power to end contractualization.
Bello instead pinned down the Congress for not passing a law to end all forms of contractualization.
The DOLE is set to release Department Order – 30 that intends to stop the practice of sub-contracting that was allowed under DO – 18.
Bello said DO – 30 will end sub-contacting, a form of contractualizaton, in order to protect workers employed under this hiring scheme from being victimized by fly-by-night companies.
But, contractualization, or 5-month employment contract, or 3-month job agreement, were not included in the DO – 30.
Thus, such forms of contractual employment will remain.
Bello strongly defended his team’s act saying DOLE under the law has no legal power to abruptly end all forms of contractualization.
He said it is the work of the Congress.
Undersecretary Dominador Say emphasized that DO – 30 only allows one contractor in hiring employees, thus, no more sub-contractuals.
Say said the regularization of the employees is now at the hands of the regional directors of DOLE, or the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
Before, the workers would go all the way to the Supreme Court to get their decision so that the companies where they work will regularize them—that is if the Supreme Court is convince that they should be regularized.
If not, the workers would not regular employees.
DOLE regional directors and NLRC officials have tainted credibility as they were perceived by the workers as business-friendly instead of favoring the working class.
Say explained that all accredited contractors are required to post a bond registration, which is equivalent to 50 percent of their employees’ basic monthly minimum wage of the total number of employees hired.
The bond would serve as a safeguard if the contractor encountered problems on payment of salaries of workers, he said.
On top of that, DO – 30 also requires the principal companies, which is the firm or establishment where the workers are working as contractuals, to look for alternate jobs for the employees within three months after termination of the services of the contractor, Say said.
If no alternate job is provided after three months, the principal firm will have to give the employee separation pay, he continued.
Another supposed salient point of DO – 30 is the granting of three months’ bonus as financial assistance to unemployed workers who are waiting for their next job, Say pointed out.
Despite of these positive offers of DO – 30, 47 labor organizations belonging to the Nagkaisa Coalition (the biggest and broadest alliance of labor organizations with different views and orientation) assailed DOLE headed by Bello for failure to end all forms of contractualization.
Destroying contractualization was one of the campaign promises of then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte is more focused on drug menace and on United States.
He never aggressively prodded the capitalists to regularize their employees.