Sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship

The Philippine Star - - OPINION -

As of yes­ter­day, a sec­ond draft of the ex­ec­u­tive or­der on job contractualization awaited the sig­na­ture of Pres­i­dent Duterte. This is a good in­di­ca­tion that the mea­sure is be­ing sub­jected to care­ful de­lib­er­a­tion.

As la­bor groups have stressed, the contractualization scheme has been abused by cer­tain em­ploy­ers to avoid giv­ing their work­ers the wages and ben­e­fits pro­vided by law and to pre­vent the for­ma­tion of unions. Also called “endo” or end of con­tract, em­ploy­ers hire work­ers for sev­eral months and then lay them off be­fore they be­come el­i­gi­ble for reg­u­lar sta­tus. Work­ers can be re­hired over and over, but al­ways un­der such a con­trac­tual setup.

There are some busi­ness en­ter­prises, how­ever, wherein con­trac­tual em­ploy­ment is un­avoid­able or prac­ti­cal, with job or pro­duc­tion or­ders peak­ing only dur­ing cer­tain sea­sons. Even large com­pa­nies also find it more ef­fi­cient to out­source the hir­ing of work­ers with spe­cial­ized skills such as se­cu­rity guards and jan­i­tors who need spe­cial train­ing. There are com­pa­nies that pro­vide such work­ers.

The gov­ern­ment must bal­ance these eco­nomic re­al­i­ties with the pro­mo­tion of the wel­fare of work­ers. Sat­is­fied em­ploy­ees tend to be more pro­duc­tive, but em­ploy­ers also need a rea­son­able re­turn on in­vest­ment to sus­tain their en­ter­prise and keep the work­ers happy.

Any or­der reg­u­lat­ing contractualization must be nu­anced and rea­son­able for both em­ployer and em­ployee. Re­cent pro­nounce­ments of la­bor of­fi­cials on the is­sue, how­ever, are re­port­edly spook­ing in­vestors, who are con­sid­er­ing re­lo­cat­ing to more busi­ness-friendly coun­tries such as Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Myan­mar. This is ac­cord­ing to the sec­re­tary of trade him­self.

The coun­try is com­pet­ing with its neigh­bors in at­tract­ing job-gen­er­at­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, and so far the Philip­pines has been trail­ing most of the oth­ers in the re­gion. Over the past three decades, the coun­try lost a lot of busi­ness to China, a hy­brid com­mu­nist state whose phe­nom­e­nal growth was pow­ered partly by cheap la­bor.

In­vestors and work­ers have a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship; one can’t live with­out the other. In ra­tio­nal­iz­ing contractualization, both sides must be pre­pared for a rea­son­able if not en­tirely happy com­pro­mise.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.