Philippines-based employee groups have called on the country’s labor department to endorse a security of tenure (SOT) bill banning all forms of contractualization – the practice of laying-off temporary staff immediately prior to the six-month cut-off date that would give them security of employment. The groups, part of the PAGGAWA workers’ alliance, sought to present their proposals to Silvestre Bello, the labor secretary, during a protest outside the headquarters of the Department of Labor and Employment.
According to Leody De Guzman, a PAGGAWA spokesperson, the Department had been receptive to their views on the formulation of the required SOT legislation, which is seen as a key means of protecting workers from the risk of low wages, poor benefits and lack of union representation, while banning trilateral work arrangements and ensuring direct hiring of workers. Among the unions participating in the protest were Goodyear Philippines, Armscor Union, Cosmic Enterprises Inc. Independent Union, Cargill Philippines Union, Bestank Drivers Union and Trans Asia Labor Action, all of which are believed to have lodged complaints with the Labour Department related to illegal contractualization practices the direct action follows President Rodridgo Duterte’s decision to reject a proposed SOT bill back in July.