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The Life and Struggle of Women Workers under Contractualization PDF Print E-mail Written by Center for Women's

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vote nowBuzz up! The Life and Struggle of Women Workers under Contractualization In an effort to appease the growing militant and anti-imperialist union movement, the American colonial government through its newly established Department of Labor, passed a labor code in the early 1900s. This code introduced the concept of the right of workers to security of tenure while legalizing the use of contractual labor through the "Independent Contractor" system. This system prevailed mainly in ports, plantations, haciendas, constructions and lumberyards. Subcontracting, a form of contractual labor. was given a boost in the mid-1970s when then President Ferdinand Marcos started setting-up export processing zones all over the country. Part of the government's compliance with the World Bank's demand of the restructuring of the economy as a loan conditionality, these zones were created as havens for big foreign companies. Corporations within these zones enjoyed tax holidays, tariff and quota exemptions, 100% profit repatriation, and other economic perks. More important, unionizing and strikes were strictly prohibited within the zones thus giving these foreign businesses a free hand in exploiting the local workers through various labor cost-cutting devices including hiring of temporary workers during peak production season and subcontracting of certain processes to groups or individuals residing in the surrounding communities. The creation of these zones was one indication of the country's shift to neoliberal globalization policies. But it was the 1980s and 1990s which saw the most intense opening up of the country to foreign capital as neoliberal reforms were introduced in a maddening pace. Tariffs and quotas for

foreign produced goods were gradually removed. One hundred percent foreign ownership in almost all sectors and complete freedom to repatriate profits were allowed even outside the processing zones. Water transport, telecommunication, banking and shipping, airlines, oil and retail trade, all vital industries, were deregularized. And there was privatization of government assets including public utilities like oil and water. This period also witnessed the fast erosion of the workers'security of tenure as companies particularly those which are exportoriented and with foreign equity started getting contractual workers even for work that is desirable and necessary or directly connected with the main business of the company. Towards the end of the 1990s, regular workers were being displaced in great numbers through various corporate strategies such as early retirement programs, temporary closures and transfer of business to other parts of the country and even through provisions in CBAs brokered by yellow unions. These regular workers were replaced by contractual workers hired from one to five months. In many establishments, these temporary workers are not called contractuals, they are given a plethora of names "" trainee, apprentice, helper, casual, piece rater, etc. But they have one thing in common "" they are doing the work of regular workers but for a specified period of time usually less then six months. The work they do is "desirable and necessary" for the company's survival, but their survival is being sacrificed in the name of more profit. Contractualization as the preferred labor arrangement under neoliberal globalization refer to the replacement of regular workers by temporary workers who unlike the former are not given benefits, do not accumulate seniority and could be easily terminated. Also known as casualization of labor, flexibilization of labor, or even informalization of labor, this could only mean mass termination of workers and massive unemployment and underemployment.[1] In the Philippines, contractualization has been accelerating in the past decade even before the Asian financial crisis. From 1990 to 1994, the combined share of casual, contractual and parttime

workers in total enterprise-based employment was between 1415%. This went up to 18.1% between 1994 and 1995. In 1997, the figure was already 21.1%.[2] This means that for every five workers in enterprise-based employment, one is bound to be a casual, contractual or parttimer worker. This estimate excludes other forms of contractual labor arrangements like subcontracting, agency-hiring, job-out, homework and other labor arrangement schemes which deny workers security of tenure. That contractualization may be more widespread than what government statistics reveal is shown by data gathered in CWR's continuing research on the issue. In the 20 branches of SM, the biggest retail trade store in the country, 92 % of the workers are either direct hired or concessionaire hired contractuals.[3] In VASSAR, a plastic manufacturing firm in Southern Metro-Manila, 78 out of 100 workers are contractuals. In Laws, a garments manufacturing firm also in Southern Metro-Manila, contractuals compose 80% of the total workforce. In Celebes Canning, a tuna canning factory in Mindanao, 96% of the workers are contractuals.[4] According to those interviewed from the export zones in Baguio City in northern Luzon, and Cavite in southern Luzon, contractuals in establishments come and go. Their numbers become overwhelming during the peak season which is before Christmas. While Data from 14 unions in the National Capital Region under the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) show that contractual workers average 67% of the workforce.[5] All workers regardless of sex fall prey to contractualization. But due to the prevailing feudal-patriarchal values which regard women's income as just supplementary, women's labor as peripheral and appropriate for low-skill jobs and women as the country's reserve labor force, women workers become very prone to this scheme. Women workers are concentrated in sectors of the economy characterized by low-technology operations and requiring low skills. They are the majority in wholesale and retail trade. In manufacturing, their numbers dominated electronics and textile

and garments factories. They are also the preferred workers in export processing zones. It is in these sectors and areas of the economy that contractual labor prevails. II. Corporate Strategies to Institutionalize Contractualization Security of tenure of workers may be an avowed principle enshrined even in the highest law of the country, the constitution but by allowing the practice of certain forms of contractual labor such as subcontracting, and by ignoring gross violations of labor code provisions of various establishments, the Philippine government is condoning albeit even encouraging labor contractualization. Many companies are flagrantly skirting the labor code provision that after six months of service, a worker, whatever her/his hiring status, is automatically considered a regular worker. Some companies create different employment levels to lengthen temporary status of workers beyond the six months. In Adriste Philippines Inc., a garments factory in Baguio Export Processing Zone, workers related that they have to undergo three nonregular working status "" trainees, floaters[6] or pieceraters "" before they can become regular employees. But the chance of being regularized is very slim, with the decision on when, why and how to regularize a worker often resting solely in the hands of the management. According to one interviewed for the study, the company rules and regulations (CRR) of Adriste on how a trainee gets promoted to become a priecerater or a floater before finally being regularized is very vague. A trainee is required to work for three months before he/she gets promoted to the next level, but this barely happens since Adriste fires out trainees before they finish the three-month required period. This way, Adriste gets to cut cleanly with the laws. As of 2001, when CWR conducted the research, Adriste was already employing 700 workers, 99% of whom are women but with only 147 regulars. Aside from trainees, floaters and pieceraters, Adriste also employs subcontractuals and continuous contractuals who definitely have zero chances of getting regularized. In Shoemart, the biggest retail department store chain in the

Philippines, contractualization is instituted by hiring trainees for three to five months. Yearly, it is estimated to hire and fire trainees totaling up to more than 59,900 for its 20 branches scattered in different areas of the Philippines. Its regular rank and file workers number to just 5,250, of which only 1,500 are members of the bargaining unit. The ratio of regular to temporary workers is a staggering 1:11.[7] These numbers belie SM management claim during a congressional hearing on contractualization that yearly, they regularize 60-70% or 35,940 to 41,930 of their trainees. In the existing Philippine labor laws, a trainee would have to complete six months of probationary status. If he/she exceeds six months from being a trainee, the worker is automatically regularized. In the case of SM, however, the management effectively dodges from its responsibility to provide security of tenure to its workers by simply shortening their employment contracts to three to five months. If, for one reason of another, the SM management sees that the trainee suits the standards of management, that worker is not regularized. Instead, he/she is allowed to re-apply to the company, but not until after one year from the termination of his/her contract with the company. The worker, in effect, becomes a continuous contractual and such scheme effectively gives SM all the legal latitude it needs to implement contractualization. In the case of Rustan's, another local retail giant, continuous contractuals are re-hired not until after three months from the expiration of their previous employment contracts. Other than coining new labels or jargons to describe employment levels and status of contractuals, companies institute contractualization by implementing repressive company rules and regulations and also through collective bargaining agreements made between the union and the management. The transnational electronic and appliance company Sharp implemented what it calls "back-to-zero" hiring scheme wherein workers were coerced by the management to sign a collective bargaining agreement which terminates all workers. Workers were forced to sign given the management's threat that they will not rehire uncooperative workers. About 85% of the workers of Sharp are women. Workers on the average have been serving

Sharp for 14 to 15 years, while other cases recorded 23 years of service. But with the "back-to-zero" scheme, workers are forced to avail of early retirement programs set by the management and are later rehired by the management as contractuals with lower salaries and without any of the benefits they enjoyed before. With the "back-to-zero" scheme, workers from Sharp saw how their basic salary of P8,800 a month was slashed to a pay of P6,000 monthly. On the other hand, one of the schemes utilized by the private sector to legally go about with contractualization is through cooperatives. Regular workers are "encouraged" by management usually with veiled threats of losing their jobs to form or join a workers' cooperatives which, in effect, serve as agencies that provide them workers. An example of this is Mode International, Inc., a garments factory originally established as a corporation in the 1980s. In 1993, after its third closure, Mode International opened but instead of directly hiring workers, it contracted the services of four cooperatives the members of whom are its former regular employees. Staff at the management level particularly the company supervisors were behind the transformation of Mode's four production lines into cooperatives. Mode produces such branded apparels as GAP, OSHKOSH, Bugle Boy, JAG, Girbaud, Trader Bay and Tommy Hilfiger for exports to countries such as the US, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Hongkong and in Europe. In an interview by CWR, workers from Mode stated that they need to become members of either one of its four cooperatives before they are given any job in the factory. After shelling out a thousand or so pesos for their application requirements, applicants who get accepted to work for Mode will have to pay first the required shares and other fees in order to become members of the cooperatives. All the workers that Mode hires are required to buy 20 shares in the cooperative to become members of the cooperative and to be employed by Mode. The share capital amounts to P2,000 aside from the P500.00 they give out for as their paid-up capital and the P50.00 membership fee. Every week workers receive their pay with P250.00 less for the share capital they are required to buy. Theoretically, the workers of Mode, being members of a cooperative, should receive the dividends their shares earns. But before the end of every year,

board merely tells the workers that their cooperative did not get any profit and cannot give the members any dividend. Mode has two types of cooperative members: regulars and associates. At the time CWR conducted the research on contractualization, the four cooperatives that manages Mode was estimated to have around 1,100 members, of which only around 325 were identified as regular members including cooperative officers who play as the management. Only regular members can elect and get elected in the cooperative. Workers in Mode are confused as to how an associate member is promoted to become regulars. Some of the interviewed stated that it is not the number of years in service that determines that status of a member but how close he/she is to the management of Mode and to the officers of the cooperatives. In reality, regular and associate members are nothing different from contractual workers. They both do not get any benefits and they do not receive any regular pay. Almost all the workers hired from the cooperatives are piece-raters thus they income will depend on how many they can produce a day and on the number of orders subcontracted to MODE. On peak seasons, the biggest amount a worker can get to take home would be around P1,800. But when the production orders are low, there are instances where one would only take home P72.00 for their work for the entire week, which is barely enough to cover for their transportation expenses. Because they are essentially contractual workers, workers from Mode are prone to abuses. They have no right to defy forced overtimes sometimes being forced to work for more than 24 hours when the orders are due to ship-out. Neither are entiled to receive essential benefits like sick, vacation or maternity leaves. Women workers in particular also experience sexual harassment. They complained that they feel harassed whenever the guard opens their zipper as part of "routinary inspection" regardless if she is a female guard. As many as eight of those interviewed revealed that there was one case wherein a female janitor was sexually harassed by one of the personnel of Mode while cleaning the comfort room. "The personnel was fired but the management kept quiet about the incident." Workers of Mode were able to form a negotiating panel that airs their questions and grievances to the management. They tried to form a union only to be told

that unionizing within the cooperatives is prohibited by law and Mode refused to even dialogue with them stating that it is not the employer of the workers. In the far south of Mindanao, cooperative schemes are also currently being employed by private companies to effectively implement contractualization. CWR studied how this scheme is instituted in Celebes Canning Corporation, which produces and exports canned tuna in the local and international markets. Celebes Canning is located in General Santos City, dubbed as "the tuna capital" of the Philippines. Applicants are directly screened and hired by Celebes Canning management. From the bulk of applicants, the management selects those who will undergo apprenticeship for the canning factory for three days. Apprentices do not receive any allowance while they work, and being accepted for apprenticeship does not guarantee that they will be hired. Those who get to pass the onthe-job training are given an employment contract which usually lasts for only five months. Before the contract is finished, the management through the personnel manager convinces the worker to join the cooperative reportedly "to help" the worker after his/her contract with Celebes Canning expires. According to seven of the 33 workers interviewed for this study, "Later on, we learned that this was the scheme they use to avoid paying separation pay to the workers." In 2000, at the time the study was made, the minimum wage in General Santos City was P171.00, but workers who are paid daily only receive P158.00. Celebes Canning also employs the so-called "quota system" in determining how much the workers would get. More often than not, workers would have to stay for 10 to 12 hours either to meet their quota or to at least to go home with a little more money if they get to exceed their quota. But when work is scarce, they go home with barely P158.00 in their pockets. III. Contractualization: A Bane to Women Workers Contractualization is a bane to women workers. It may provide them employment but only for a short term; its deleterious effect on their lives and livelihood is more far-reaching and long term.

The result of the three year research of CWR on women and contractualization attests to this. 1. Effects on workers regardless of sex Contractualization further depresses the already very low wages of workers. Four out of ten respondents revealed that they are paid below the mandated minimum wage and in many cases, this is even done legally by establishments who hire trainees or apprentices in great numbers year round who according to the Labor Code is entitled to only 75% of the minimum rate. From this meager income, they spend as much as PhP 500 up to PhP 1,000 in application requirements such as permits and clearances from government agencies and medical tests. One of the interviewees remarked that "In the whole application process, we are burdened by the big amount we have to spend for the requirements." They also have to pay for the cost of their uniforms and other work paraphernalia because as contractual workers they are not entitled to these for free. As one sewer interviewed bitterly remarked, "You need to buy your own scissors, needles and crocheting needles. These cost PhP280. We shoulder the cost but we use these to make our company's products. Even the apron we use is not free. And we can afford only one apron." In SM, the biggest retail chain store in the country, trainees have to shell out PhP680 for two sets of uniforms, open shoes, at three pairs of stockings. Their first pay check is usually spent for paying back the loans they incurred during the application period while a big chunk of their next paychecks goes to savings for the next application period. However, most cannot afford to save so they again go in debt come application time. The shorter the contract, the more expensive for the workers since this could mean several application periods within one year. Contractualization further reduces the time workers spend for the family. They are not entitled to leaves of any kind so if the children becomes ill, they have no choice but entrust the child to someone else for absence from work no matter the reason means no pay for the day or in many cases, termination from work.

Being contractuals, they could not refuse overtime work which during the peak season means staying beyond ten o'clock in the evening (10:00P.M.) though the labor code prohibits this as inhuman practice. Several respondents experienced being forced to work for 24 hours with only a one hour rest and sleep. Not only does the worker's health suffer, this practice also has dire consequence for the worker's relation with her family. As one respondent stated, " I get hot-headed especially when I am forced to work overtime. I cannot attend to my children anymore. I get angry with them easily because of weariness. And if I do not report to work, I will be scolded or sanctioned when I come back. Worse, I could be terminated." (BCEZ) Contractualization brings down the workers' self-esteem. As a whole, management looks down on workers but their biggest contempt is reserved for contractuals. Even for the slightest infraction, managers and supervisors shout at, curse, humiliate contractuals even in front of other people. Stricter compliance with company rules and regulations are demanded of contractuals. One interviewee observed, "We agree that the company should have rules and regulations but our problem is how these are implemented. They are very strict with us contractuals. When our make-up is too thin, they scold us and force us to add more make-up. While they ignore the regulars whose make-up is thinner than ours." Having a college degree does not guarantee a regular job. Thirtythree percent of the CWR respondents finished a college course or reached college. Yet they remain as contractuals. Most felt that they are a disappointment to their families who sacrificed much to put them through their college. To hide what they perceive as their failure, many conceal their contractual status from their families. "We do not tell our parents and family that we are contractuals because they think that we are already working abroad or we have good jobs." Contractualization nurtures and reinforces the already prevailing culture of docility and subservience that have been inherited from the feudal-patriarchal culture introduced by Spanish colonizers. The main objective of contractuals is to stay employed thus they learn how to repress their anger or sacrifice their rights.

The implementation of Company Rules and Regulation (CRR) among women contractuals is stricter. They are made to perform duties/jobs/ work assignments that are difficult and are usually assigned to regular workers. Their ultimate wish is to become a regular worker that is why they are forced to accept all the dehumanizing and slave treatment given to them by the management and even by the regular workers. " It is very difficult to be a contractual worker, you are forced to bow down to their every wish. Our lives are at their mercy!" 2. Specific effects on Women Contratualization further aggravates discrimination among women. Six percent of the respondents said that they were obliged to have pregnancy test even if they are single. They will never enjoy the benefit of maternity leave because work for contractuals last only for five months (usually the longest period they are made to stay). According to law, only women who have been with the company for six months are entitled to maternity leave. "Companies allow only two months for maternity leave but without pay, and if you're not a supervisor's 'pet', you'll never be accepted back again". ( a worker from VASSAR) Contractualization ignores the special needs of women especially those pregnant and with monthly period. Saleladies and even some workers in manufacturing are made to stand the whole day. At Mode International, for instance, female workers are made to bend forward by security guards just to determine if they do have monthly periods and get excused from changing their underwear. The frequency and use of comfort rooms are limited. Because of the contractualization scheme, many female contractual workers are made to accept the sexual advances made by their superiors as a normal thing and are made to believe that these may open doors for possible renewal of contract or for their speedy regularization. Indubitably, contractualization alarmingly aggravates the culture of docility among Filipina women and puts them at risk from boundless forms of abuses.

IV. Legalizing Contractualization: The Role of Government The worse condemnation of those interviewed by CWR was reserved for the government, the maker and implementor of labor laws and policies. Many said that the government only makes anti-worker laws. They said that government has not provided them any help since its bias is for capitalists particularly foreign companies. One worker even bitterly remarked that "They (those in government) never think of the people, their only concern is power." These sentiments are backed by their experience with government and its labor law. Though mouthing support for workers' rights to security of tenure, Philippine administrations even before the time of Marcos have been legalizing various contractual arrangements. But it was the Medium-term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) of the Aquino administration which clearly enunciated that the promotion of "flexible companies" and "flexible work arrangement" as a policy objective of the state. In fact, her National Employment Plan (NEP) encourages subcontracting as a way of enhancing the competitiveness of firms and creating jobs in the countrysides.[8] In 1994, the Ramos administration pushed for the passage of the Omnibus Amendment to the Labor Code (OALC) in the lower and upper house of the Philippine Congress. The bill in the lower house sought for the relaxation of provisions against Labor Only Contracting by: * Identifying conditions for permissible job-contracting thus relaxing restriction on labor-only-contracting, a labor flexibilization scheme disallowed by the Labor Code; * Allowing compressed workweek which allows work beyond 8 hours as long this does not exceed 48 hours per week "under special circumstances" thus giving the capitalist leeway to impose forced overtime to meet high quota requirements without paying mandatory overtime premiums; * Lengthening apprenticeship period beyond the three months allowed by law to three years with no assurance of regularization; * Authorizing the Secretary of Labor to suspend the implementation of the labor standards and allow payment of less

then the minimum (up to 50%) in calamity stricken areas; and * Authorizing the Secretary of Labor to identify workers who may be exempt from the mandatory 13th month pay.[9] Met with stiff protests from militant labor organizations, the OALC was relegated to the background only to give way to the issuance of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Order # 10 in 1997. This order came out with a "negative list" of activities which cannot be contracted out thus in essence legalizing contracting by increasing the number of jobs that can lawfully be contracted out. Using the Order, labor-only-contractors can pass themselves as "legitimate sub-contractors". And it does not stipulate the penalties for those proven to be labor-onlycontractors. DOLE Order # 10-97 was rescinded by DOLE Order #18-02 which was passed by the newly installed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2002. Claimed by government as an improvement over DOLE Order #10-97, this order emphasized the legality of contractualization as long as it is not labor-only-contracting. But more important, it equated security of tenure to having a definite contract which the contractor could not violate with impunity under the law. In 2000, DOLE embarked in a Labor Code Review Project which came out with the recommendations meant to reinforce and even legalize the already existing practices of labor contractualization. These include the following: * Amend the Dual Training System Law in order to encourage flexibility by allowing the payment of "training allowance" in forms other than money, for example, through surplus products. * Allow flexibility in the length of period for apprenticeship depending on the nature of the work involved. This is already being practiced through the hiring of ":continuous" contractuals. * Recognize irregular and unusual working hours and shorter meal breaks. To reach the high quota set by management many workers work more twelve or more hours a day and use their meal breaks to perform the manual parts of the operation. * Set wage rates on an hourly basis to encourage part-time arrangements; * Recognize the practice of compressed workweek where

employers are allowed to require workers to work beyond 8 hours but not beyond 12 hours a day as long as it with within the total 48 hours a week requirement: Many companies have already cut the working days of their employees from six days to four days a week. Thus their workers have to stay an average of 12 hours per day just to meet the 48 hours per week required by law. Despite their longer hours, they are merely given the usual daily wage. * Revise the definition of employer-employee relation from one of control to that of exchange; and * Simplify the classification of workers from the prevailing "regular, project, or casual employees" to "employees for a definite period and employees for an indefinite period". V. Fighting Contractualization through the United Action of Regular and Contractual Workers Practice has shown that the most effective way to successfully fight contractualization is through the united and militant actions of regular and contractual workers. It is not through the passage of laws which are often watered down or full of loopholes to allow flagrant violations by capitalists. It is the strength of the workers'united action that will force the capitalists to recognize and respect the rights of contractual workers including their right to regular and secure employment. This has been proven time and again by the workers themselves. In the Philippines, labor organizing has been going on since the early 1900s and among the issues raised by organized labor is the use of the cabo or contractor system in many industries. They worked hand in hand with peasant groups, the cabo system being entrenched in the agriculture sector. The militant actions of the labor movement has pushed government to grudgingly give the workers protection through the passage of certain laws though government sincerity in this aspect is constantly in question due to their spotty implementation of these laws. With the advent of neoliberal globalization, changes are being instituted in the labor code of the country. But the workers are not taking this lying down. Through the persistence of Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU, the workers' union of

DOLEFIL, management was forced to regularize 72 contractuals. The union of the employees and workers of Meralco, the company which provides electricity to the whole of Metro-Manila and environs successfully worked for the reinstatement and regularization of 163 temporary workers. Thirty contractual workers were regularized by Cosmos Bottling Company through the effort of ALMASAR-IBM-KMU, an organization of contractuals. Through their collective bargaining agreement, the workers'union of Laws Textile ensured that management will regularize at least five workers each year. The union of International Wiring Systems, a big electronics company, successfully negotiated for the evaluation for regularization of contractuals on the third month. It was able to get a signed agreement from management that the latter will automatically get a regular worker to replace those who have resigned thus stopping the spread of contractualization in the company.[10] These unions struggled and won over big companies. Dolefil or Dole Food Company, an American based multinational corporation, is the world's primary producer of food products. Laws Textile Philippines, Ltd, Inc., a company owned by Taiwanese businessmen, is the maker of knitted sweaters, bonnets and shirts for JC Penny, GAP, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer among others. Equally important are the successful efforts of contractuals to organize themselves despite almost insurmountable odds such as the threats of termination from management, their long hours of work and their short stint in the companies. And the organizing of contractuals comes in many forms. There is the unionization of contractual workers KnitJoy footwear company, which gets contracts from such big brand corporations as Hush Puppies. There is also ALMASAR, an alliance of contractual workers from various establishments under the San Miguel Group of Companies, a food conglomerate. The National Consultation on Contractualization sponsored by CWR in 2001 in order to present and enrich its research findings on the issue, also became the launching ground of KLK or Coalition Against Contractualization. A loose network of groups, workers and non-workers, fighting contractualization, the main

aim of KLK is to help organize contractuals wherever they are found, in the factories where they work and in the communities where they reside. KLK has set-up a pilot center in Taguig, a city south of Manila where many factories are found. Through this center, KLK will deepen the research or in the language of organized labor in the Philippines the social investigation into how contractualization is impacting on the lives, work and struggle of workers, regular and contractuals alike and provide contractual and displace workers services in the form of trainings, paralegal and counselling services as a prelude to organizing. The use of contractual labor in the Philippine is nothing new but so is labor organizing. And such organizing is not limited to the factories or to the workers, labor organizing since the 1970s has always encompassed organising in the communities and among the workers families. And it is this experience that KLK and the unions and the womens movement is drawing upon in its struggle not only against contractualization but more important against neoliberal globalization. Stop contractualizationNP bet Ople INQUIRER.net First Posted 13:25:00 05/03/2010 Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Labor, Human Rights * * * * Reprint this article Send as an e-mail Post a comment Share

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report * Misamis Occ. mayoral bet wants town placed under Comelec control * Arroyo pleased with Quiboloy endorsement Also in this section * Families displaced by Mindanao clashes still in state of fear * Thailand ends emergency rule in 3 provinces, not Bangkok * US donates 4 gunboats to RP police * Malaysia's Anwar loses bid to strike out sodomy charges * OFWs need not fast on RamadanDFA * Italy hails anti-Mafia, immigration successes * Pacific villagers await their god: Britain's Prince Philip * Anxious parents fuel Singapore tutor boom * California Senate OKs law on Filipino WWII vets * Tamil migrants in good conditionCanada * Job agencies welcome Binays order on Pag-Ibig dues Advertisement MANILA, PhilippinesNacionalista Party (NP) senatorial bet Susan "Toots" Ople called for an end to unscrupulous labor-only contracting arrangements in both the public and private sectors during the Harapan senatorial series aired Sunday night. Ople, a former labor undersecretary, said that lopsided contractual arrangements for the supply of workers have become a push factor for migration. "Contractual workers subsist on 5 to 6 months job contracts while a legally deployed overseas Filipino worker has a guaranteed two-year contract with a fixed and higher salary," she noted. The labor advocate said she will push for the passage of a bill prohibiting the outsourcing of core functions in a company. In the audience rooting for Ople were officials of the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association or Palea, whose 3,000 members are affected by the airline's plan to spin-off several divisions to manpower supply agencies. The daughter of the late Labor Secretary and Senator Blas Ople also noted that government remains the number one biggest violator of continued contractualization arrangements.

"Many government workers are now on temporary mode, supplied by service providers, with rates far below the salary standardization law and without the benefits enjoyed by regular government employees," Ople pointed out. Ople said that in her proposed measure, micro-, small-, and medium-sized establishments who cannot afford to have 100 percent regular employees can seek an exemption from the Office of the Labor Secretary but they would have to justify why they must resort to outsourcing of workers. "There must be a special division or tripartite body created specifically to address the problems concerning our contractual or outsourced employees and workers to ensure that their rights are upheld at all times and their temporary employment do not result in a bidding war that leads to extremely low wages and non-existent benefits," Ople proposed in a statement following the Harapan episode. The NP women candidates scored high in the online polls, with Senator Pia Cayetano garnering the most votes followed by lawyer Gwen Pimentel and Ople.