DTI’s ‘win-win solution’: Sugar coating to legitimize workers’ further exploitation

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MILITANT labor again slammed the so-called ‘win-win solution’ being lobbied by the trade and industry department to end the menace of contractualization besetting the country’s labor force, claiming that “it would only be a continuance of capitalists’ transgressions and systematic exploitation”.

They likewise challenged President Duterte’s sincerity in fulfilling his campaign promise to end temporary employment; the militants urged him stop his economic managers’ dead on their tracks in promoting their outright anti-labor proposal or suffer political isolation from those who propelled him to power.

The groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) ang MASO-Pilipinas made this allegation as they ‘gate-crashed’ the 6th annual forum of PALSCON or the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors which was set to tackle their position on the proposal of the trade and labor departments.

Among the speakers of the forum included Senator Franklin Drilon, secretaries Ramon Lopez and Silvestre Bello III of the trade and labor departments.

Under Lopez’ proposed set-up, workers will be hired by the service providers and manpower agencies as regular employees, receiving various benefits such as leave credits, 13th month pay as well as retirement, social security and health insurance plans, among others.

The militants called the proposal “baseless and dismissive” of Article 280 of the Labor Code, which states that regular employees are those who perform “usually necessary or desirable” in the normal operations of a business.

“For more than two decades now, workers have been severely burdened by the wanton denial of our rights, forcibly shoving us further below poverty line. No amount sugar-coating from capitalist agents, will dupe us into taking their bait,” said Leody de Guzman, president of the socialist BMP.

The groups insisted the proposal would only mean that Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code and Department Order 18-A, “legal instruments used to circumvent constitutionally-guaranteed rights” shall remain intact.

De Guzman articulated that Articles 106 to 109 provided the loophole for capitalists in these trilateral agreements to use contractors and subcontractors that provide cheaper workers to carry out work that should be performed by their regular employees.

These provisions, he claimed, “were only meant to obfuscate employee-employer relationships. More so, it reinforces the capitalist blackmail of ‘work or starve’, under constant threat of unemployment by simply terminating their employment contracts”.

The groups say that there shall be no compromise in their call for the abolition of all forms of contractual employment and will continue to hound conferences of capitalists and anti-labor government officials.

Concretely, the groups are urging President Duterte to a) issue an Executive Order to declare DO18-A void and the revision of the BMBE law; b) certify as urgent congressional bills nullifying Articles 106 to 109 and the prohibition of contracting of ‘usually necessary or desirable’ work, pursuant to Article 280 of the Labor Code. The criminalization of labor-only contracting and deputize labor union leaders as labor inspectors to check and report violation of labor standards.

“It will simply take President Duterte an issuance of an Executive Order to scrap contractualization for good. To ordain such would lift millions of families from the yoke of dearth and misery,” de Guzman concluded.

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