Labor NGO seeks junking of DOLE’s ‘contractualization order’

A labor research group has reiterated its call to scrap Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) order promoting contractual work arrangements in workplaces issued last 2011.

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said DOLE’s Department Order 18-A encourages companies to implement short-term contracts and violate workers’ job security in the guise of “ethical contractualization.”

“While it recognizes contractual workers’ rights and requires labor contractors to register, Department Order 18-A nevertheless promotes contractual work arrangements in deodorized form. The order lays legal basis for rampant contractualization that weakens unions and denies workers’ of security of tenure,” EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa said during Labor Day protests in Manila.

EILER said the order serves as implementing rules of the provision in the Labor Code on contracting and subcontracting.

Escresa said Department Order 18-A also promotes multiple subcontracting, as it exempts big employers from liability while placing obligations to workers’ on small contractors.

“Department Order 18-A is highly favourable to big firms engaged in subcontracting as it insulates them from liability in terms of regularizing employees, payment of mandated wages and benefits, and union recognition,” Escresa explained.

EILER explained that contractualization primarily allows companies to jack up profits by saving on labor costs, as contractual receive lower wages than regular counterparts and are denied the full package of benefits.

“It is alarming that contractualization is increasingly becoming prevalent across industries. Currently, contractualization hotspots are the sectors of construction (81.21 percent of total workforce), hotels and food service activities (50.26 percent) and manufacturing (48.64 percent).

“We will seek a congressional inquiry on Department Order 18-A as soon as Congress resumes session on May 5 and push for its immediate junking,” Escresa concluded.

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