THE labor sector in Negros Occidental has expressed dismay over the move of the House of Representatives adopting the provisions of Senate Bill 1826 or the “Act Strengthening Workers’ Right to Security of Tenure.”
Wennie Sancho, secretary general of General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said such adoption eliminated the need to convene for a bicameral conference committee.
Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas, said it will also amend the House’ version of the measure, the House Bill 6908, approved in January last year.
“The bicam should have reconciled the two versions of the security of tenure to avoid ambiguity and to clearly define that job contracting is illegal,” he said, adding that the absence of in depth deliberation in the bicam will water down the provisions of the bill.
Now that the bill, also seeking to amend the Labor Code, was already adopted by the House, it will be transmitted directly to Malacañang for the President’s signature making it as a law.
A report stated that the measure stresses the ban on labor-only contracting and clarifies uncertainties in existing laws that have allowed employers to circumvent the prohibition.
Under the bill, labor-only contracting exists when the job contractor merely supplies, recruits, and supplies workers to a contractee.
The bill also classifies workers under four employment types including regular, probationary, project and seasonal
Project and seasonal workers have the same rights as regular employees. These benefits include the payment of minimum wage and social protection benefits, it added.
Sancho said the House’s version of the bill is more favorable to the workers because it prohibits all forms of contractualization or end of contract (endo) scheme.
He said Senate Bill 1826 only defines what is labor contracting which is already found in the Labor Code of the Philippines.
“We are apprehensive that the final version of the law and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) will still allow some form of job contractualization,” Sancho said.
The hype to end endo was merely a lip service, he added.
The local labor group further said the watering down of the law will only give room for various interpretations resulting in legal battles where the workers are the losers.
The interest of the capitalist will prevail over the workers, Gawa said, adding that “once again, we were taken for a ride.”