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DOLE's new contractualization rules puzzle PALEA

December 3, 2011 4:58pm
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) is puzzled by the Department of Labor and Employment's way of addressing the problem of labor contractualization in the country.

The DOLE announced that beginning December 5, its Department Order 18-A series 2011 (Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code) would take effect.

DO 18-A aims to provide clear rules on contracting and subcontracting and to put a stop to the abuses against non-regular workers.

The new DO seeks to differentiate “legitimate” from “non-legitimate” contractors and sub-contractors, by laying down requirements for legitimate ones such as:
  • owning a distinct and independent business,
  • exhibiting readiness to take full responsibility for performing a job, work or service;
  • having substantial capital or investment; showing commitment to comply with labor laws; and
  • registering with DOLE regional offices.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz had said that at least 200,000 contractual workers will now enjoy security of tenure and other benefits that regular workers get.

With the issuance of DO 18-A, PALEA expressed confusion over DOLE's earlier approval of the PAL management’s outsourcing scheme, which led to the dismissal of about 2,500 regular workers who were supposed to be absorbed as contractuals by the firms contracted by the flag carrier to take charge of its call center reservations, catering and airport services.

“What ‘security of tenure’ is Baldoz talking about, especially after she removed it from us by approving PAL management's outsourcing scheme?" said PALEA President Gerry Rivera.

According to the new DO, non-regular workers would be entitled to benefits provided under the Labor Code such as 13th month pay and overtime pay, as well as retirement benefits.  They will also be entitled to Social Security System, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth benefits. Their right to self-organize or negotiate a collective bargaining agreement is also specified in the new order.

“It appears there is no difference at all now between regular and contractual workers. Kung pareho lang sila bakit pa mag-contractual and isang kompanya?  Walang logic,” Rivera added.

The difference, he said, lies in the contract as all the rights mentioned in the new rules are co-terminus with the contract.  So if a worker is hired for just five months as most contractuals are, then it is also a temporary enjoyment of those entitlements. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a five month collective bargaining agreement (CBA), or a five month union membership.

Rivera, who is also the vice president of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), surmised that by coming out with this new Order, Baldoz was just trying to recover lost credibility from the labor sector, the general public, and the international community after she made an error in forcing the issue of outsourcing on PAL workers.  — Jerbert Briola /MRT/LBG, GMA News
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