Junk contractualization to avert another Kentex- BMP
A LABOR group called for the immediate junking of Department Order 18-A (DO 18-A) of the labor department after the country suffered its worst industrial tragedy which claimed the lives of seventy-two workers in a fire that razed the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation factory in Valenzuela City last Wednesday.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) demanded that DO 18-A to which they claimed was “instrumental in legalizing contractualization be scrapped without delay not only because it is a circumvention of our right to security of tenure and for its failure to ensure to uphold the rights of the workers but all the more for exacerbating the working conditions of employees. In the Kentex case, it has led to the tragic loss of lives”.
“The tragic death of seventy-workers must not be taken for granted. Their deaths must a wake-up call to Baldoz before it really turns into nightmare. Drastic and comprehensive reforms must be taken at once and the scrapping of the DO 18-A must be its centerpiece,” said Gie Relova, leader of BMP in Metro Manila.
He asserted that, “The death of seventy-two workers is conclusive enough to declare that the DO 18-A is a catastrophe in terms of upholding labor rights, it also leads to dereliction of duties and a source of corruption and collusion between corrupt labor and local government officials and unscrupulous capitalists,
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz last Friday admitted that Kentex had been engaging in subcontracting practices, a violation under the Labor Code. CJC Manpower Agency, the subcontractor of Kentex based in Meycauyan, Bulacan is not accredited by the labor department.
“By Baldoz’ own admission that labor-only contracting violations were prevalent among the employees of CJC and Kentex even if it inspected the workplace and granted it a Certificate of Compliance. The DO 18-A could not be implemented and will most likely lead to horrendous violations, similar to the case of the employees of Kentex,” he said.
Despite Baldoz admission, the Relova lamented that Baldoz admitted only a portion of the condition of the workers of Kentex saying that, “Baldoz deliberately failed to mention that the clear majority of the workers were employed under the pakyawan system or piece rate basis, a much worse form of labor-only contracting”.
Interviews held by BMP organizers with workers and families of the fire victims confirmed that of the less than four hundred workers employed by Kentex only thirty-eight are union members and a hundred and four casuals were deployed by CJC, indicating that a little more than two hundred fifty piece-rate workers toiling for 12 hours a day, seven days week for rates below the mandated wages
“Since the issuance of Department Order 18-A in 2011, the labor secretary up to the Kentex tragedy has weaved lie after lie for the past four years to paint a rosy picture of happy and productive workers. Truth is that, the working condition of the victims at Kentex is the general state of more than seventy percent of the national workforce,” Relova explained.
The militants vowed to hold wave upon wave of demonstrations until contractualization is abolished and all those liable for the tragic deaths are severely punished.
The BMP together with allied organizations have also called for the accountability of officials of labor department and its attached agencies as well as local government officials of Valenzuela City.
17 May 2015
Gie Relova 0915-2862555
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
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