Signing of DO 174 does not heed workers’ demands

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A labor research group expresses dismay over Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and the signing of DOLE Department Order 174, or the Rules Implementing Articles 106-109 of the Labor Code.

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said DOLE’s new DO does not heed workers’ demands to end contractualization as it still encourages companies to implement short-term contracts and violate workers’ job security in the guise of “legal contractualization.”

“DOLE packaged the new department order as restriction to contractualization of workers, and that’s it. The so-called ‘win-win solution’ by DOLE through DO 174 does not ban but further legitimizes contractualization. That is very far from the workers’ demand to repeal all department orders and policies that allow labor contractualization in the country,” EILER deputy executive director Rochelle Porras said in support of the indignation protest at DOLE in Intramuros, Manila.

EILER said that DOLE’s DO 174 together with DO 162 (order suspending registration of new applicants as contractors or subcontractors) only rehashes policies and still promotes contractualization. The labor NGO also criticizes Labor Secretary Bello’s excuse that only Congress can completely ban contractualization.

“President Rodrigo Duterte had marching orders to end contractualization. Labor Secretary Bello’s signing of DO 174 simply exposes the current administration does not want to ban contractualization in favor of the big capitalists,” Porras said.

EILER estimates almost half of the employed are non-regular mostly found in manufacturing and service sectors. The average daily basic pay in manufacturing and wholesale/retail sector is P358.71 and P314.34 respectively. These amounts are below the living wage of P1,096. Contractualization favors companies by saving on labor costs, as contractual workers receive lower wages, without benefits. The practice also denies workers security of tenure, weakens unions and bargaining rights.

“We reiterate our call to junk any department order promoting contractual work arrangements. What we want is the banning of all forms of contractualization, regularization of workers and the passing of a national minimum wage. We will immediately seek congressional inquiry on DO 174 as soon as Congress resumes session on May 2,” Porras concluded.

Read and download PDF copy of DO 174 here.

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