DIWA representative slams contractualization, fights for Security of Tenure!

Date: August 2, 2016

DIWA representative slams contractualization, fights for Security of Tenure!
“There is no security in a man being fired and re-hired every five months so that he never becomes regularized…this is not flexibility of employment…it is a ridiculous sleight of hand, legal terminology used as a smoke screen to validate injustice“ DIWA representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar delivered her privilege first speech for the 17th congress dedicated to address the needs of Filipino workers by forwarding the rights of laborers through the Security and Tenure and against the End-of-Contract or “endo.”
According to the congresswoman, contractualization and job contracting have been rampant problems that blatantly disregard the welfare of workers around the country in the name of national progress due to the interests of companies and businessmen. These practices retain an exploitative arrangement for our workers wherein they are not given the chance to acquire security and become regular workers in a company. “…And that rule, once more, calls for security: there is no security in a man being fired and re-hired every five months so that he never becomes regularized.” She said.
Rep. Aglipay-Villar expressed her concern that the issue regarding the welfare of workers have not been sufficiently addressed during the past years. DIWA has submitted similar bills in the past two congresses that unfortunately met no success.
The representative also stated that the Constitution guarantees workers security of tenure, humane working conditions of work, and a living wage. Under the Labor Code, a regular employee performs work that is essential to the business of the employer. The implementation of both laws have been unsatisfactory. Statues and regulations are exploited to legally deny regularization to workers who deserve it to a point where some industries have made contractualization a rule. According to the 2014 Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment, there are more than one million three hundred thousand non-regular workers in our labor force. In industries such as manufacturing, accommodation and food services, more than a third of their labor force are not regular employees.
Rep. Aglipay-Villar further expounded the nature of contractualization by enumerating its three forms; namely, labor-only contracting, fixed-term employment, and abuse of the probationary status of workers.
To equip the current legal framework and support the welfare of employees, DIWA party-list has filed Secuirty of Tenure Act of 2016, House Bill No 76. The said bill takes aim at the three forms of exploitative contractualization that plague the Filipino workers. The bill, when turned into law, shall: 1) Establish that regular employment is the rule and jobs that are necessary to the core business of the employer may not be contracted out; 2) Limit fixed-term contracts or automatic termination to instances determined by law and further defined by Department Order; 3) Make invalid the termination of probationary employees when done to prevent the acquisition of security of tenure; and 4) Create a rebuttable presumption that the termination of a probationary employee was invalid if made under certain suspicious circumstances: when all or substantially all of probationary employees are terminated in favor of a new set of probationary employees; and when there is a disproportionally high number of probationary employees in a work force.
The representative also recognized the need for a certain level of flexibility in the tenure of workers, especially in certain industries that have different work arrangements. To work with this situation, she reiterated that clarity is of utmost necessity to ensure that loopholes will not be available for employers to take advantage of. Clearer definitions of terms will bring stability to the relationship between employee and employer.
“What the Constitution promises — what we promise, when we swear to serve it — is full protection. Not protection when convenient, not protection when affordable.” Rep. Aglipay-Villar said. “That the effects of contractualization are complex, and creating a better legal framework will take time, and input from many sources. I am willing to listen. I am willing to learn.”

DIWA Party-list is an organization that aims to protect workers’ rights and promote workers’ welfare, provide opportunities for workers’ growth and development, and pave the way for a just, humane, and free society.