Big companies still violating contractualization rule, says Labor chief

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2017 09:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2017 11:11 PM

MANILA - While companies have reported an increase in regular employees under the present administration, there are still big firms that violate labor standards in relation to contractualization, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said.

Speaking at the Taxing Times forum on Wednesday, Bello said fear of employee unions and difficulty of firing people are among the reasons for these companies' non-compliance with the rule.

Bello said a lot of electricians are still being outsourced, while security guards are also employed by what appears to be fly-by-night agencies. He added that he still sees contractual sales ladies.

He cited telecommunication giant PLDT as one of the firms violating rules on contractualization. The labor department earlier directed the company and its contractors to regularize 8,720 employees.

PLDT Inc last Monday said it was contesting the labor department order to grant regular status to nearly 9,000 workers and pay P78.6 million in benefits.

Bello said he is willing to talk and negotiate with PLDT and allow the company to regularize its employees over a period of time instead of all at once.

He also cited a fast-food chain that regularized 50,000 employees, many of whom working in crucial positions, but only through an agency and not through the company itself. 

Bello said they will continue to crack down on companies violating labor policies. He said they will be targeting hospitals next, after receiving reports that some nurses are not treated well.

Ending contractualization is one of the big promises of President Rodrigo Duterte when he ran for office in 2016. A year later, this issue remains a problem.

In his second State of the Nation Address, Duterte faced protesters outside the Batasang Pambansa who challenged him to fulfill this promise.

However, Duterte told the labor groups present in the rally to talk instead to Bello, whom he said is a leftist. The crowd, however, was not satisfied with the President's response.