Workers are holding simultaneous rallies at DOLE offices in key cities as part of a campaign by labor groups who are calling for the signing of an executive order (EO) to abolish contractualization. Members of Partido Manggagawa (PM) and the labor coalition Nagkaisa are picketing this morning the DOLE offices in Intramuros, Calamba, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Bacolod and Davao City.
In a dialogue between labor groups and President Duterte this month, the latter promised to make a decision by March 15 on the former's lobby for an anti-endo EO. Rene Magtubo, PM chair and spokesperson of Nagkaisa said that “President Duterte won on a campaign platform of abolishing contractualization. Two long years have passed and the promise remains unfulfilled. Duterte criticizes EDSA for its broken promises but his own vow to end endo remains unrealized.”
The rallies will also call on the Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to act on major labor disputes at firms Lakepower, Coke and Philippine Airlines. Last week the DOLE main office was rocked by rallies of workers of electronics firm Lakepower Converter and employees of Coke. Women workers of Lakepower in Cavite ecozone have been on strike for more than two months now. They are calling on the office of the Labor Secretary to intervene to resolve the protracted dispute. The workers are calling for a stop to the termination and suspension of union officers and members. The dispute has become a litmus test of freedom of association at ecozones.
Last year, the DOLE released a new department order on contractulization called DO 174. “DO 174 however is no different from previous orders which allow contractualization, and give wide latitude to capitalists to subcontract and replace regular employees with contractual workers. Thus we are asking President Duterte to issue an EO to implement his campaign promise of ending contractualization,” Magtubo explained.
The Philippine Airlines union PALEA is also asking the Secretary Bello to expedite the labor inspection report on the use of contract workers in the national flag carrier. Last year, the DOLE conducted a labor inspection of Philippine Airlines and its sister company PAL Express. PALEA, which observed the inpection process as the duly accredited union, insists that the assessment uncovered clear acts of illegal labor-only contracting in the outsourcing program of PAL and PAL Express.
“Massive subcontracting and outsourcing at PAL that has reduced its plantilla of regular workers and bloated its army of contractual workers is not different from PLDT which the DOLE already found as guilty of illegal contracting,” argued Magtubo. The DOLE has also released an order to regularize 8,000 workers and pay millions in money claims.
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