‘Safety nets’ sought for workers who will be displaced by drive vs contractualization

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 July) — South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes urged the national government to set more “safety nets” for workers who might be displaced as a result of the continuing crackdown against labor contractualization.

This, as the local government projected that around 13,000 private workers in the province could face retrenchments in the coming months, with the government resolved to end illegal labor contractualization schemes in various industries.

Such figure was based on estimates from industries operating within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

Fuentes said the province is threatened by such move as it might eventually lead to massive retrenchments.

She noted that the province hosts a number of companies, among them fruit giant Dole Philippines Inc., as well as cooperatives and manpower agencies that hire contractual workers on a regular basis.

“We’re really worried by this situation as it will also result to other problems,” the governor said in a radio interview.

Fuentes clarified that she’s not opposing efforts to end illegal labor contractualization but cited that the government appears not ready to face it at this time.

She acknowledged that such reform needs to be done but said even government agencies and local government units could not implement it.

“We can’t even make all our workers permanent, so how much more for our businessmen?” she asked.

The governor said the government should come up with more clear-cut measures to address the problem, especially in the countryside.

“We want to know what more safety nets the government can give to workers that will eventually lose their jobs because of it,” she added.

DOLE has launched a crackdown against establishments and companies that are practicing “endo” and labor-only contracting arrangements on orders from President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

In March, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued Department Order No. 174 that sets the prohibition on “repeated hiring of employees by contractors under an employment contract of short duration that falls short of the mandated six months to qualify for regularization.”

It also identified various labor contractualization schemes that are deemed illegal under existing laws.

In Region 12, DOLE earlier ordered the regularization of some 2,175 private workers from eight companies who were found employed under illegal contractualization schemes.

Six of the companies have signified to comply while the two others have filed appeals before the Office of the Secretary. (MindaNews)