Local labor union groups decry outsourcing of jobs
TACLOBAN CITY – Labor union groups have expressed concern on the emerging contractualization scheme in Eastern Visayas, that would eventually affect the plight of regular workers.
Rene de los Reyes, president Energy Development Corporation (EDC) Tongonan Worker’s Union, said that organized labor unions have been shrinking over the past years as many private firms decided to outsource some jobs previously performed by regular employees.
“This is the biggest threat to worker’s group. Company hires people from agencies that are not members of union and they are getting stable than the organized labor group,” de los Reyes told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
Outsourcing of jobs has also forced some workers to retire early since their position are considered redundant or it can be performed through outsourcing, thus depriving them of full retirement package intended for those who retire at the mandatory age.
In EDC, he said that the firm has a minimum of 600 workers hired by 58 major contractors mainly tasked to perform jobs of utility workers and security personnel.
“Although they are expected to provide only utility services, they perform jobs such as drafting, field engineering management, and pipe maintenance. These are functions previously assigned to regular workers,” he added.
The union official said that 109 EDC workers will retire this year and they still have to find out how many positions will be retained or will be subject to outsourcing.
Arthur Estrera, president of Concerned Organization of Progressive PASAR Employees (COPPER) said that about 30% of the jobs in the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASA) in Isabel, Leyte have been outsourced last year.
PASAR with about 632 labor union members is the first and only copper smelting and refinery in the Philippines.
“The direction is contractualization but we to it see that outsourced jobs are not directly involved in the operation. We have an agreement that those who retired should be replaced by the employee’s kin,” Estrera told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
Department of Labor and Employment Leyte Northern Leyte field office head Marites Vinas said that outsourcing is inevitable with the issuance of Department Order No. 18-a , which recognizes subcontracting as a legitimate business undertaking, and regulates it to promote responsible and ethical subcontracting.
“There are safety nets in this order. Those jobs performed by regular workers should not be contracted out,” she added.
Under section 7 of the new order, subcontracting is prohibited activity when it results to termination regular employees, reduction of working hours, unfair labor practice. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)
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