Taking a cue from President Duterte, Anak Pawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao has filed a measure abolishing the contractualization employment scheme in the country.
During the campaign period, President Duterte vowed to abolish the contractualization scheme, which he described as an unfair labor practice and a tool of exploitation against the working class.
Casilao said contractualization is not a mere short-term tactic to reduce costs or to defeat a union organizing drive but a long-term strategy for shedding all obligations to workers and eliminating all employee rights based on the existence of an employment relationship.
“It removes various obstacles to the extreme exploitation of workers which they have won through decades of struggle,” Casilao said.
Citing recent studies, Casilao said contractualization is extensive in the Philippines, with seven out of 10 firms implementing combinations of flexible work arrangements, and with estimates showing that contractuals now outnumber regulars among Filipino workers. As labor groups and advocates have described, contractualization is a dagger in the hearts of Filipino workers.
Casilao said large corporations such as Shoemart (SM), a retail company owned by Philippines’ richest Filipino, Henry Sy, is notorious for employing contractual employees with shortened employment tenures of three to five months.
Casilao said in 2011, Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s flag carrier, succeeded in outsourcing its ground operations, retrenching 6,000 regular employees in favor of contractual workers.
Casilao said majority of the country’s 37.6 million employed persons are either employed in contractual, temporary, probationary, seasonal, and odd jobs. Based on official government data, an estimate of 44% of workers employed in various industries are not regulars.
Casilao said the rate of contractual employment is also high in the construction sector at 81% and quarrying sector at 59%.
He said contractual employment schemes can be viewed as the micro-economic firm-level aspect of the continuing and worsening economic restructuring of the world economy that is part of the macro-level liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies of neoliberal globalization.
Casilao said labor flexibilization pertains to innovations in work organization and employment schemes associated with the adoption of new production technologies and/or human resource management designed to extract greater profits prompted by increasing global competition and crisis.
“These profit maximization schemes include labor-only-contracting, subcontracting, hiring of casuals and contractuals, hiring of apprentices so that in the Philippines labor flexibilization is used synonymously with “contractualization” or “casualization” of labor,” Casilao said.
He said in the past decade, contractual employment proliferated due to the neoliberal policies of globalization.
“In fact, a big chunk of locally-generated employment is attributed to contractual or temporary jobs across industries particularly in special economic zones, the service sector and industries concentrated on export-oriented production mainly of semi-manufactures with little value-added,” he said.
The bill defines contractor or subcontractor as a person or an entity with whom an employer or principal enters into a contract for the performance of the latter’s work.
Under the bill, when the contractor or subcontractor contracts to perform work that is necessary and desirable for the business of the employer, the employees or workers of the contractor or subcontractor shall be considered the employees of the employer and not of the contractor or subcontractor.
The bill provides further that the contractor, subcontractor, agency, person or intermediary shall be considered merely as agent of the employer or the principal who shall be responsible for the workers in the same manner and extent as if the latter were directly employed by the said employer or principal. (HREP-MAPRS)