Bill seeks end to labor contractualization

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


A BILL has been filed in the House of Representatives seeking to end labor contractualization by amending the country's Labor Code.

Gabriela Women's Party-list Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan filed House Bill 4396 or An Act Prohibiting Labor-only Contracting and Regulating Job Contracting and Sub-contracting.

The proposal aimed to put a stop to the pernicious practice of labor contractualization that has been keeping wages low and denying workplace benefits from long-suffering workers.

The bill seeks to stop contractual employment by rendering the contractor a redundant agent, while strengthening the relationship between the principal employer and employee.

The measure said that in case the contractor fails to pay wages, the principal is bound to pay the employees directly.

"Security of tenure provisions prevent employer from terminating employee except for just causes. Contracts made to fix employment durations to violate the bill's provisions will be ruled null and void. Probationary employment is fixed at six months, after which period converts to regular employment," the bill read.

Violations can be fined up to P500,000 or imprisonment of up to two years, it said.

In filing the bill, the lawmakers said their bill aims to remove the power wielded by Labor Secretaries to legalize contractual employment.

"President Benigno Aquino III's Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz even issued Department Order 18-A Series of 2011 towards this end," the bill said.

Ilagan, meanwhile, countered the government's justification for promoting contract labor, to attract foreign capital and create jobs, with hard economic facts.

"Contractual employment egged on capitalists to lay off workers more easily and led the shameful finding by the International Labor Organization that the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in all of Southeast Asia. Unemployment in fact is exploding under the Aquino administration from 4.37 million in 2011 to 4.49 million in 2013 while job generation dropped from 1.2 million in 2011 to a mere 317,000 in the same year," Ilagan said.

De Jesus added that the rampant scourge of contractualization is not only demeaning and costly for young underemployed job applicants constantly hunting for jobs, but also threatens the life and health of workers. (Sunnex)

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