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Next administration must stop labor contractualization – Gatchalian

Photo by Defend Job Philippines

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) senatorial bet Win Gatchalian today said the 17th Congress that will convene under a new administration should seriously consider prohibiting labor contractualization among workers in the service sector so as to protect their security of tenure.

Gatchalian observed that while contractualization has long been allowed for security guards and janitorial services who are under the employ of manpower agencies, it was unjustly extended to workers in the service sectors, especially those working in shopping malls.

“We need genuine reforms in order to correct the abuses in the system of contractualization. Individuals essential to the functioning of a firm must not be subjected to short contracts designed to prevent them from acquiring permanent status and enjoy the mandated benefits of regular employees,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House committee on trade and industry.

Should he be elected into the Senate, Gatchalian vowed to push for amendments in the Labor Code that will specify the types of work that can be sub-contracted and those that should be in the category of direct hires by companies, including shopping malls where labor contracting-only have been most prevalent.

Gatchalian, the sole senatorial candidate running exclusively under Partido Galing at Puso led by front runner Sen. Grace Poe, noted that the current system legalizes “endo” or end-of-contract in which the employee is terminated before they reach the six-month probationary period.

The “endo” circumvents Article 281 of the Labor Code, which mandates that an employee, who is allowed to work during the probationary period of six months shall be considered a regular employee unless terminated before the end of the sixth month.

“The might of our economy rests on the abundance not only of our natural resources but our population. But without job security due to contractualization, people cannot afford to become independent and to further their career in our country. Worse, many can only live from day to day and cannot become financially stable to raise and feed their families on their own,”explained Gatchalian.

Gatchalian pointed out that although sub-contracting of labor is needed in the case of security guards and janitorial services, companies must invest in their human resources if they want to grow in the long term.

“It important to recognize that the system of contractualization must not be abolished. Contractualization allows firms to expand their production during special circumstances and to tap into the expertise of highly-specialized professionals. However, companies that are looking to grow must invest on boosting the productivity of their regular workers,” the Valenzuela City congressman said.

Presidential bet Grace Poe is also opposed to contractualization as what she declared during the last presidential debate in Pangasinan which was aired live over ABS-CBN.

Poe maintained that the practice of “endo” is a form of injustice and that people are not machines who can be thrown away when their services are not needed anymore.

​She said problems linked to “endo” can be resolved by lowering the corporate income tax of business owners who are afraid of losing profits. “The employees should be productive and they will be productive if their companies care for them and the government protects them,” she said.

Kee Beom Kim, an employment specialist of the International Labor Organization, was previously quoted by Inquirer as saying that having workers with short-time contracts “cannot be good either for the morale of those workers or in terms of the investment in those workers.”

“We know that the companies that are able to survive for the long term and prosper are those whose employees are productive, are happy, and they have good morale,” Kee said, noting that companies hiring regular workers and investing on raising their productivity are the ones to become “successful and prosperous.” (Monica Cantilero)