GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 August) — Fruit giant Dole Philippine Inc. (Dolefil) has committed to regularize some 4,765 contractual workers in support to the national government’s efforts to eliminate labor-only contracting practices.
Sisinio Cano, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Region 12, said Tuesday the company has started preparations for the regularization of its workers in coordination with its workers’ union.
He said such move was an offshoot of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) forged last Friday by Dolefil and its labor-management council Dolefil-Kaugnay.
Under the agreement, he said the company committed to regularize some 4,173 workers under its cannery operations in Polomolok town in South Cotabato and an additional 592 workers under its upper valley operations based in Surallah town.
The regularization process will be made within one year after the signing of the MOA, which was personally witnessed by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod and Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez.
Cano said such commitment was on top of the regularization of some 1,962 company workers in response to a compliance order issued by the agency.
Dolefil was among the 23 companies issued with compliance orders by DOLE-12 in the last two years in line with the national government’s campaign against labor-only contracting.
Labor-only contracting is an arrangement “where the contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job, work or service for a principal.”
Such practice, along with end-of-contract or “endo” and “555” schemes, were prohibited under the Labor Code and DOLE Department Order No. 174.
Six companies in Region 12 were listed by DOLE central as among the top 20 employers in the country that were engaged in labor-only contracting, with Dolefil accounting for 10,521 of the 21,540 affected workers in the area.
Randy Fleming, Dolefil vice president and managing director, said in a statement that the company is fully committed to comply with the provisions of the MOA regarding the regularization of its workers.
“Although we are facing competition in the global market, we will be in full compliance with what is stated in the MOA and we will regularized workers as (agreed),” he said.
Fleming said that as part of the process, the affected workers will undergo screening and evaluation.
In line with the move, he assured that the company will continue to work with its workers union and local stakeholders.
Fleming noted that Dolefil, which is controlled by Japanese trading giant Itochu Corp., has an “excellent record of corporate responsibility in working with the community and other non-government organizations.”
Dole-Kaugnay was established by the company and its workers’ union Labor Employees Association of Dolefil to manage labor-related concerns.
In 2015, Kaugnay topped the national search for most outstanding labor-management cooperation for industrial peace. (MindaNews)