LABOR LEADERS renewed their call to legislators and lawmakers to finally pass the Security of Tenure (SoT) Bill before the Congress adjourns late next month.
On Tuesday — the eve of Labor Day — the heads of the biggest unions jointly asked the legislators to pass the law that will ensure the security of tenure of workers nationwide.
The unions included Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Partido Manggagawa (PM), and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
The SoT Bill is currently in the amendment stage at the Senate. It was certified as urgent last year by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The bill hopes to give workers a clear pathway to job security by doing away with practices like “endo,” the termination of employment before the sixth month, which denies workers the benefits and protections of permanent employee status.
“We still have an opportunity from May 20 to June 7. Nine days! That’s why we’re asking the senators to issue the amendments because we are running out of time. It has been going on since the 12th Congress. It’s already the 17th Congress… we are really pushing for this passage. Hopefully when (Congress) adjourns on May 20, amendments will already be submitted,” TUCP President Raymond C. Mendoza told reporters in a briefing Tuesday.
Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (NAGKAISA) Chairperson Sonny G. Matula said legislators should raise penalties for employers who are found to be engaged in labor-only contracting, which is prohibited by the Labor Code of the Philippines.
According to Section 288 of the Labor Code, violators “shall be punished with a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00).”
“Ang penalty ay napakababa… hanggang ngayon hindi maka-comply ang mga employer sa security of tenure ay dahil napakababa ang penalty niya (The penalty is too low… until now, employers don’t comply because the penalty is low),” Mr. Matula said.
KMU chairperson Elmer C. Labog said: “This is unacceptable. We cannot legitimize labor-only contractors who do nothing but recruit and deploy workers… They connive with principal business owners to deprive workers of security of tenure and other basic labor rights.”
On May 1, 2018, Mr. Duterte signed Executive Order 51 which purported to crack down on illegal forms of contractualization. Mr. Labog said a law must be in place to institutionalize the changes.
“It will go down as a legacy of failure and one of the greatest unfulfilled promises of President Rodrigo Duterte,” the KMU chairperson said. — Gillian M. Cortez