By Leslie Ann Aquino
A day before their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, labor groups called anew on the Chief Executive to make good on his promise to stop contractualization by issuing an executive order.
“It’s about time the President makes good on his vow to end contractualization and stay true to his commitment to us during our last dialogue on Labor Day to issue an Executive Order to fulfill this promise,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said in a joint statement.
Nagkaisa! is the largest labor coalition in the country with over 40 trade union centers, labor federations and workers’ associations, while KMU is described as the genuine, militant and anti-imperialist national labor center.
On Labor Day in Davao last year, Duterte asked labor groups to draft an executive order within 10 days, which he will sign.
KMU and Nagkaisa! submitted a common draft a few days after the meeting. It was only in the last couple of months, though, when the Department of Labor and Employment facilitated discussions with both labor and employers on the issuance.
“We want the President to issue an executive order prohibiting all forms of contractualization based on the position we submitted,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.
Sitting at the panel for Nagkaisa! and KMU were: Michael Mendoza, Nagkaisa! chairperson; Elmer Labog, KMU chairperson; Atty. Sonny Matula, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) president-Nagkaisa!; Rey Cagomoc, Kilos na Manggagawa spokesperson; Judy Miranda, Partido Manggagawa secretary general-Nagkaisa!; Jhen Pajel, All Workers Unity; Rep. Raymond Mendoza, TUCP Partylist-Nagkaisa!; and Lito Ustarez, KMU vice president for political and external affairs.
In discussions with the Labor Department last month, the KMU and Nagkaisa! agreed to a version of the proposed EO which says that, “Contracting or subcontracting when undertaken to circumvent the worker’s rights to security of tenure, self-organization, collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution is hereby strictly prohibited.”
Nagkaisa! and KMU said the same issuance should also provide that, “Security of tenure refers to the direct hiring relationship between the principal employer and employee.”
The labor groups said for over 20 years, the government has been regulating contractualization by allowing agency-hiring and other forms of trilateral employment relations which only resulted in the proliferation of fraudulent forms of contractualization like endo and labor-only contracting.
“The solution to this scourge is to make prohibition as the new rule to effectively protect workers’ security of tenure and all other trade union rights as guaranteed by the Constitution,” read their joint statement.
Malacanang has invited labor groups to a dialogue with the President on February 7 and the executive order on contractualization is reportedly one of the items on the agenda.
KMU and Nagkaisa! are also set to conduct a joint mobilization on the same day at Mendiola at 12 noon where they will break bread ahead of Duterte’s dialogue with labor.