Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Nagkaisa hails passage of Security of Tenure Bill

Labor Coalition Nagkaisa! is satisfied over the passage on third reading of HB 6908 on the Security of Tenure at the House of Representatives.

Nagkaisa! said that "the SOT bill is a great improvement to existing legislation as it gives more teeth to the government by providing penalties for those who will violate the security of tenure laws."

"This is the farthest a proposed law on SOT has gone for decades," said Nagkaisa! "Now, it's time to get the Senate moving on their proposed SOT measure."

"HB 6908 gives more flesh and blood to the guaranteed right to security of tenure," Nagkaisa! said. "It's not perfect or ideal, but we can live with it," said Nagkaisa!, the largest labor coalition in the country.

Fear of employers allayed

Nagkaisa! also addressed fears of employers who went on record saying that they will have a "big problem" if the proposed measure was passed. "If the big problem employers have about HB 6908 refers to the potential cutbacks in the windfall of profits a number of employers have been amassing through the massive abuse of workers via contractualization for decades, the bill intends to do just that," Nagkaisa! said. "Employers who do not abuse workers through contractualization have nothing to fear," Nagkaisa! added.

"Never in the history of employment relationship in the country has workers enjoying regular employment and implementation of strict rules in labor contracting been detrimental to the economy and job generation," Nagakaisa! said.

"Job generation is a function of the development of sectors of the economy influenced by economic policies of the government, and not by labor contracting practices," Nagkaisa explained.

A "serious problem" employers noted is that if the SOT bill becomes a law, it will be detrimental to the economy and job creation. Nagksaisa! countered the argument. "Workers with regular employment generate more income, thus, with more purchasing power contribute to increasing demand in goods and services that lead to higher income taxes and VAT for the government. These are all good for the economy," said Nagkaisa.

"The fear that the HB can lead to unemployment is only possible if they are not paying their contractual employees what the law currently demands. In other words, their argument is an admission that they are doing business at the expense of workers' rights – and they want to continue doing so," Nagkaisa! added.

The recent statement by the employers didn't specify which provisions of the bill they strongly disagree with.

Nagkaisa! said it was grateful to Labor Committee Chair Rep. Randolph Ting who steered the discussions and Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Partylist and Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan Partylist who co-authored the SOT Bill and helped defend it together with Nagkaisa.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Nagkaisa labor coalition supports House Bill 6908


With its provisions that can be considered as marked improvement from existing laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting, particularly Article 106 of the labor code and DO 174, rules and regulations on labor contracting promulgated by the DOLE last March 2017, Nagkaisa!, the largest labor coalition of worker's union and labor organization in the country supports HB 6908, an act strengthening workers security of tenure, which was approved on second reading by the house of representatives last January 23.

Among these provisions are:

a) Disallowing subcontracting of jobs already contracted out by principal employers;

(b) Disallowing any form of fixed-term employment;

(c) Any one of the three conditions found present on the the employment relationship between the labor contractor and employees dispatched to principal employers, such employment relationship is deemed labor-only contracting. These conditions are (1) labor contractor has no substantial capital in the form of investment and tools, (2) the labor contractor has no control over the worker's method and means in performing their function, and (3) workers recruited and dispatched perform functions which are directly related to the principal busines of the employer; and

(d) Labor contractors found violating labor-only contracting provisions of this act shall be fined Php 30, 000 for each worker engaged in labor-only contracting arrangement but the total amount of the fine shall not exceed Php 5 million.

Nagkaisa! admits that HB 6908 is not a perfect bill to prohibit all forms of labor contracting. However, the marked improvement in its provisions would surely address to a great deal widespread use of contractual labor in the country, and thus strengthening workers' security of tenure and the exercise of their right to organize and collectively bargain compared to the present laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting.

Nagkaisa now calls on the Senate to introduce more prohibitive provisions in their version of bills pertaining to security of tenure so as to further improve what HB 6908 has achieved.

Finally, we thanked the efforts made by Rep. Randolph S. Ting, Chairperson of the Labor Committee, representatives of TUCP and Akbayan! partylists, and the rest of the co-authors of HB 6908 for successfully defending and passing it on second reading.

Security of tenure bill remains imperfect—labor coalition

THE country’s largest labor coalition on Thursday called on lawmakers to add more teeth to House Bill (HB) 6908, also known as the security of tenure bill.

In a news statement, the Nagkaisa labor coalition said the new legislation is still imperfect since it still allows some forms of contractual labor.

Nagkaisa, however, threw its support behind the legislation, which it said is already a step toward finally providing better protection to contractual workers.

“The marked improvement in its provisions would surely address to a great deal widespread use of contractual labor in the country and, thus, strengthening workers’ security of tenure and the exercise of their right to organize and collectively bargain compared to the present laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting,” Nagkaisa said.

On Tuesday the House of Representatives approved on second reading HB 6908.

Among the salient points of the legislation is its prohibition of subcontracting of jobs already contracted out by principal employers and any form of fixed-term employment.

It will imposes a fine, ranging from P30,000 to P5 million, on labor contractors who will violate its provisions.

Nagkaisa thanked the House Committee on Labor and Employment and the representatives of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Akbayan party-lists, and the coauthors of HB 6908 for supporting the bill.

The group is now urging the Lower House and the Senate to add stiffer penalties for employers who will violate the provisions of HB 6908.

“We call on the Senate to introduce more prohibitive provisions in their version of bills pertaining to security of tenure, so as to further improve what HB 6908 has achieved,” Nagkaisa said.

Almost 2 million workers are expected to benefit from HB 6908 once it takes effect.

In a text message, Federation of Free Workers, a member of Nagkaisa, said it will also hold rallies and forums in the coming weeks to gain public support for the bill.

Aside from the legislative measures, members of Nagkaisa are also set to meet with President Duterte next month to discuss the new EO, which is expected to further restrict contractualization in the country.

“MalacaƱang said [a] meeting is expected to take place on February 9,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, for his part, said.

Associated Labor Union-TUCP, another Nagkaisa member, said they will urge the President to finally sign the new EO during the meeting.

The meeting was originally scheduled in December 2017, but was later reset due to Duterte’s busy schedule that time.

Nagkaisa is a coalition of 40 major labor groups in the country. -By Samuel P. Medenilla