TUCP hails Senate passage of security of tenure bill

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A MAJOR union said the 15 Senators who supported the security of tenure bill displayed “great political leadership” in voting to pass the measure on second and third reading Wednesday despite pressure from government economic managers, foreign business chambers and employers.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition “are overjoyed that notwithstanding fierce lobbying to oppose the passage of (Senate Bill) 1826, the Senate passed the measure that will begin the process of finally ending contractualization and ‘endo’ (end-of-contract) employment,” TUCP President Raymond C. Mendoza said in a statement Thursday.

Endo denies probationary workers a path to permanent employment and the benefits associated with it, typically by getting workers to sign contracts just short of the 6-month probationary period, after which most workers enter regular status under the law. The workers are then signed to new contracts and continue as before.

“By a vote of 15-0, the Senate also brushed aside the apprehensions and objections made by Finance Secretary (Carlos G. Dominguez III) that the BIll would negatively affect the economy and was contrary to the interest of management flexibility. We remind Secretary Dominguez that TUCP also respects management flexibility, but it must be consistent with the Constitutional rights of workers, the right to security of tenure, the laws, and the higher goals of building decency and fairness in a society faced with growing income and social inequality,” Mr. Mendoza said.

“By helping President (Rodrigo R. Duterte) meet his campaign vow of ending contractualization, all of us are actually building a socially-inclusive country and strengthening genuine grassroots democracy.”

He estimated the number of contractuals and endo workers in the Philippines at “easily 15 million” and said that workers put on a path to regularization will boost productivity and cut employer costs by eliminating the need for specialist labor suppliers.

He suggested that the passage of the bill was overdue after the House of Representatives passed a similar measure “two years ago by a vote of 177-8.”