‘Order to regularize not enough’
A STUDENT activist organization on Friday expressed dismay at the recent statement by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello announcing the Labor department’s order to telecom giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. to regularize 10,000 of its employees.
The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan or Spark, in a statement emailed to the media, claimed they welcomed the DoLE’s announcement but insisted the order was insufficient.
“By all indications, PLDT, PAL [Philippine Airlines] and many more have violated workers’ rights; their labor unions for decades have been complaining about their company’s infractions. The DoLE report is clear on this, for that reason the next order of business for the DoLE is to charge them before the courts,” said Spark spokesperson Jade Lyndon Mata.
“These abusive companies and the manpower agencies must be held accountable for the appalling miseries inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of workers if not millions who were victimized by their schemes,” he added.
The group cited Article 109 of the Labor Code which states that both direct employer and contractor shall be held responsible for labor-only contracting violations.
In the case of PLDT, the Labor department through its Special Assessment/Visit of Establishment (Save) discovered that the telecom giant was engaging in contracting and subcontracting arrangements with manpower agencies to supply workers to perform duties that are directly related to nature of business of PLDT.
Mata, a former diser at SM Supermalls, himself insisted that a mere order shall not rectify the deliberate and systematic exploitation of its employees and shall not dissuade other employers from utilizing such work schemes in their companies.
“Reparations must be in order to amend this grave abuse by employers. This must also be extended not only to the contractual workforce on-hire during the DoLE visit last year but also those who were hired during the entire period that the circumvention of labor laws was employed,” he maintained.
The activists say reparations must include the social cost of the poverty-inducing work scheme.
They asserted that labor-only contracting was not merely an assault on an individual employee’s right to job security but had also systematically injured the bargaining power of labor unions to seek higher wages and benefits.