Labor chief: PLDT and PAL have been violating labor standards
Updated: 9:20 p.m., April 19, 2017
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. PLDT) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) have been violating various labor standards, particularly in relation to the contractualization of its employees, according to Labor Secretary Bello III
“At PLDT, we found violations, mostly among its sub-contractors and majority of which are not even registered or with expired registrations,” Bello said at a news conference.
He said these irregularities were discovered through the Special Assessment/Visit of Establishment (SAVE) conducted in 2016 by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In reaction, PLDT issued a statement, saying it had not received any order from the DOLE. But it promised to “fully cooperate” with the department’s ongoing audit of its labor practices.
“PAL and PAL Express, including their contractors and sub-contractors – we also noted violations of general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards,” he went on.
Bello said he would direct the regularization of around 10,000 employees of PLDT after finding out that they had been performing functions necessary to the company.
DOLE allows the contracting of labor that is not part of the key functions of a company via manpower agencies registered with them.
“I will order the regularization of close to 10,000 workers under contracting and subcontracting arrangement but are performing jobs that are directly related to PLDT business,” he said.
Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, who heads the labor compliance inspection, added that DOLE expects more PLDT employees who could be regularized as they pursue a nationwide evaluation of the telco company.
“The 10,000 is just from Metro Manila and nearby provinces,” Maglunsod said. “We could find more if we include other areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.”
He added that labor officials had already met with PLDT in the first quarter of the year to inform it of its violations.
DOLE also found out through SAVE that Philippine Airlines and its budget carrier PAL Express had been contracting out workers performing core functions for the company.
“We have no figures yet as we still have to complete our inspection and assessment of PAL,” Maglunsod said. “These are just initial findings.”
He said they assessment of PAL could be completed around May 1.
The labor department also found PAL violating general labor standards, such as underpayment of wages, overtime pay, and service incentive leaves. It also found PAL falling short of occupational safety standards. Among other thing,s PAL had no valid fire safety inspection certificate and had no trained safety and health officer.
John Caniete, director of the National Capital Region (NCR) office of DOLE, said the two giant firms were identified firs because they were included in the department’s “priority establishments” list.
According to Bello, DOLE would not hesitate in imposing penalties on companies found to be violating labor laws.
“We found these violations and we will slap them with the appropriate penalty if they refuse to comply,” Bello said.
Meanwhile, he bared that 45,605 workers had been regularized as of the first quarter of 2017.
“Majority have been voluntarily regularized while the rest were through regular assessment,” he said.
The regions with the most number of regularized workers are the NCR, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Caraga.
On the other hand, regions that most frequently regularize their workers after the regular assessment are NCR, Calabarzon, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Bello said that DOLE was expecting more workers to be regularized with the implementation of Department Order 174, which sets out amended guidelines on labor contracting and subcontracting or hiring through a manpower agency.
Labor groups have criticized the new policy, saying this is no different from the previous orders on contracting. They argued that this will only perpetuate contractualization since workers are regularized through agencies. /atm
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