House panel tackles job security bills

Labor-only contracting

Most of the 11 proposed measures before the House committee also pushed for the prohibition of labor only-contracting, a permissible system under Philippine laws where workers are outsourced from general contractors.

Arturo Guerrero III of the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors explained that certain products and services are seasonal, creating the need for alternative hiring set-ups such as contracted labor.

He said that job outsourcing and job contracting "gives business owners the ability to acquire labor quickly."

"Prohibiting it would mean loss in jobs and increase in unemployment rates. We will be the only ASEAN country who would be without it, and that would set the Philippines at a disadvantage," Guerrero said.

Guerrero added:  "Service contractors offer a variety of contracts that meet diversity of attitudes and expectations to work. Outsourcing is a global trend right now. We only hear that there are abuse to these sectors and we don't stand by this."

He said his group abides by DOLE DO 18-A.

Meanwhile, labor groups heeded the call of the International Trade Union Confederation and held rally in front of the DOLE office in Manila on February 18, the Global Day of Action on the Right to Strike, in defense of the right to strike or collectively refuse rendering work as a mechanism to air labor grievances.

Lawyer Sonny Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers, said the right to strike is an urgent concern as employers' representatives worldwide "are letting go of the last bargaining lever of workers to improve their wages and benefits." –