by Tiara Nacario
Labor rights advocates demanded an end to contractualization in Kontra: Untangling the Contractualization Debacle, a forum held at the UP College of Home Economics, Nov. 16.
Leody De Guzman, a member of Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), proposed a legislation to criminalize violators of job security, removing all forms of contractualization and shutting down all manpower agencies or contractors.
“Alam niyo ba yung mga contractor, kumikita ‘yan ng P33 to 37 a day sa bawat isang manggagawa na mai-susupply niya,” de Guzman said.
“Kaya kung yung isang contractor, may isang libong manggagawa na isusupply sa mga principal niya, kumikita siya ng 33,000 a day.”
De Guzman also denounced the lack of benefits for contractual workers as well as the absence of job security.
“Kapag ika’y kontraktwal, ang sahod mababa, yung SSS (Social Security System), akala mo binabayad, hindi pala. Kapag uutang ka, walang mautang,” he explained.
De Guzman, a former garment factory worker for 12 years, said the lack of job security fuels capitalists to offer contractual employment to workers.
“Hindi pwede yung ipapasa ng kompanya doon sa mga third party, sa mga manpower agencies, labor service cooperative yung responsibilidad niya sa mga manggagawa,” he said.
“Manggagawa niya ‘yan, siya ang kumikita sa mga manggagawa kaya dapat gampanan niya ang kanyang mga responsibilidad.”
For De Guzman, capitalists only want them to earn more and generate immense income for their companies.
“Para mapalaki ang kanilang kita, paliliitin ang kanilang gastos sa sahod at benepisyo sa kanilang mga manggagawa,” he said, adding that contractualizing employees is a way to do so.
Out of the country’s 65 million workers, 40 million Filipino workers were classified as contractuals in their companies in 2014, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Compared with data from 2012, non-regular employment rose with a rate of 16.3 percent.
On the other hand, IBON Foundation recorded only this year around 24.4 million non-regular and agency-hired workers who were found to be in poor quality work.
UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations professor Atty. Rosalio Aragon Jr. traced contractualization’s roots to the early 1900s during the Industrial Revolution when then-businessman Henry Ford began the practice of non-regularization.
The term Fordism was coined after his name, describing a concept characterized by mass production and mass consumption.
Aragon said Fordism introduced the fragmentation and simplification of work tasks—also known as the factory system—where one worker is assigned to one task with the use of standardized parts to manufacture the product.
“Kung ikaw ay merong pagawaan ng bag, yung mga trabahong necessary ay yung mananahi, yung taga-lagay ng mga butones, mga zipper. Those are desirable to the business,” Aragon said.
“Ngayon, kung araw-araw ‘yan ang ginagawa mo, nagtatahi ka. Yung trabaho mo ay regular na, under the law. That’s what our labor code says,” he added.
According to the Labor Code of the Philippines, a regular employee is defined as “an employee who has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business of the employer.”
When asked if there’s a possibility to criminalize job security violators, the lawyer said Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed a bill abolishing contractualization but failed on the scrutiny of other Congressmen.
However, Aragon clarified that the bill filed by TUCP was not passed.
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks against the issue during his campaign and his threats to shut down companies practicing contractualization, Filipinos workers have yet to experience the fulfillment of the chief executive’s pronouncements.
In the meantime De Guzman called for the students’ participation in the fight against contractualization.
“Sana sa hinaharap, ‘pag naging mga propesyunal kayo, ‘wag kayo maging bahagi ng pagpapatupad ng kontraktwalisasyon,” he said.
“Maging kakampi namin kayo sa aming paglaban para ang ating mga manggagawa magkaroon ng dignidad bilang kapalit ng mahalagang papel na ginagampanan sa lipunan.”