PLDT denies seeking compromise agreement with DoLE

Font Size

PLDT, Inc. denied on Monday reports it is seeking a compromise agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on its dispute over regularization of employees of the telecommunications giant’s service contractors.

“PLDT has not sought a compromise agreement and is pursuing a fair and just resolution of this case on the basis of the 31 July 2018 decision of the Court of Appeals which substantially altered the pertinent orders of the DoLE,” the company said in a statement.

PLDT noted it was granted by the Court of Appeals (CA) on July 31 an injunction on the DoLE order demanding the company to issue regular employment status to more than 7,000 of its service contractors.

It noted the CA agreed that “the DoLE’s appreciation of evidence leaned in favor of the contractor workers, and that the Secretary had ‘lost sight’ of distinctions involving the labor law concepts of ‘control over means and methods,’ and ‘control over results.’”

The July 31 order of the appellate court said the DoLE was being speculative in its order versus PLDT, and the order had no substantial evidence.

In response, the DoLE said last month it will file a motion for reconsideration through the Office of the Solicitor General to argue its case.

“While it is true that there are functions or activities that may be contracted out, our position is that (they) should be contracted to a legitimate contractor,” DoLE officer-in-charge Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos M. Benavidez said then.

But PLDT noted it still has a motion for partial reconsideration with the appellate court concerning the regularization of its workers doing installation, repair and maintenance (IRM) services.

“PLDT argued that the fact-finding process contemplated by the Court’s remand order is not actually part of the visitorial power of the DoLE (i.e., the evidence that will need to be assessed cannot be gleaned in the ‘normal course’ of a labor inspection) and is therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Labor,” it said.

PLDT also questioned the CA ruling, which appears to conclude all IRM jobs are “irregular,” noting the law allows some of these jobs to be “project-based” or “seasonal” in nature.

“Assuming the CA will affirm the remand, PLDT argued that instead of the DoLE it should be the National Labor Relations Commission — a tribunal with more comprehensive fact-finding powers — that should take over to determine whether the jobs are in fact IRM, and if so, whether they are ‘regular’ or can be considered ‘project- based’ or ‘seasonal,’” it added.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez