9,000 contractual workers in Region 12 get regular status

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 Nov) – At least 9,070 private contractual workers in Region 12 have been granted regular status this year by their employers as a result of the government’s crackdown against illegal labor contracting practices.

Sisinio Cano, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Region 12, said Thursday these workers were already receiving salaries and benefits entitled to regular workers based on validations conducted by the agency.

He said the figure exceeded their target of 9,000 workers for regularization this year or an accomplishment of 100.78 percent.

Cano said around 6,000 of the regularized workers were from fruit giant Dole Philippine Inc. (Dolefil) based in South Cotabato.

The remaining workers were employed in various companies and business establishments, among them the KCC Property Holdings, which operates shopping malls here and nearby Koronadal City, he said.

“These were all validated by our inspectors, meaning the concerned workers were already performing as regular workers and included in the regular payroll of their respective employers,” he said in a press conference.

Cano attributed the accomplishment to the continuing inspections of companies in the region in the last two years.

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 19, he said the agency has inspected a total of 1,431 companies or 89.89 percent of their 1,606 target for 2018.

He said the inspections, which targeted employers engaged in labor-only contracting, covered the principal or main companies, contractors and sub-contractors as well as affiliated entities like cooperatives.

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, is prohibited under the Labor Code and DOLE Department Order No. 174.

Following the inspections, Cano said they issued compliance orders to companies that were found engaged in illegal labor contracting schemes.

Early this year, DOLE-12 endorsed to their central office the cases of at least 23 companies with such violations in compliance with a directive from President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Six of them were included in the list issued by the agency last May of the top 20 companies in the country that were engaged in labor-only contracting practices.

These firms account for 21,540 contracted workers, with Dolefil topping the list with 10,521.

Cano said the fruit company, which is owned by Japanese trading giant Itochu Corp., signed a memorandum of agreement with its labor-management council Dolefil-Kaugnay last August for the regularization of some 4,765 contractual workers.

Under the agreement, he said the company committed to regularize within one year 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.

Cano added that such commitment was on top of the regularization of some 1,962 company workers in response to a compliance order issued by the agency. (MindaNews)