BACOLOD

Group condemns measure to extend workers’ probationary period

NEGROS Occidental-based labor group General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa) is condemning “in the strongest possible term” the proposed measure extending the maximum prescribed period of probationary employment from six months to two years.

House Bill 4802, authored by Probinsyano Ako party-list Representative Jose Singson Jr., aims to extend the maximum prescribed period of probationary employment to 24 months.

It claimed that the current six-month period is insufficient for some employers to determine whether a probationary employee is qualified for regular employment.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of Gawa, said the bill is anti-worker, an added form of injustice, and a labor exploitation to say the least.

Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas, said it will not take two years for a job applicant to learn the necessary skills for the job he applied for.

“This is reinforced by on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs that would provide workers with adequate orientation and familiarity with the job,” he said, adding that “there are exams and interviews conducted, so why make it hard for the workers who are hoping to have a job?”

The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) earlier rejected the proposal on the ground that it would violate the workers’ right to security of tenure. It was sided by the Malacañang.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a report, said President Rodrigo Duterte might also veto the proposal if the House of Representatives passed it into law.

For the local labor group, the two-year probationary period is not only a form of penalty or a “lock in” period where a worker does not have social benefits.

Sancho said the workers are suffering from unemployment and underemployment. The bill will be adding insult and injury to the workers.

“Party-list representatives are supposed to protect the marginal sectors like labor, but this bill is for the interest of the capitalist,” Sancho said.

The labor should be vigilant to make sure that this bill should be thrown into the garbage where it belongs,” he added.


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