PLDT now open to draw up regularization plan for workers – DOLE chief
After nearly a year of defying the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) order for it to regularize its more than 7,300 workers, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is now open to draw up a regularization plan which would initially cover at least half of the firm’s contractual workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that he would meet with PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan to discuss the details of their “compromise agreement.” Among the issues expected to be threshed out are the timeline of the regularization plan and identification of first batch of employees that would be regularized.
Bello added that he would also try to “haggle” with Pangilinan the inclusion of 60 percent or more than 4,300 workers in the first batch.
Nonetheless, he noted that the initial offer of 50 percent is already a “very substantial compliance” to their regularization program.
Saturday’s meeting of Bello and Pangilinan puts an end to the more than nine months of back and forth talks between PLDT and DOLE on the issue of contractualization.
Early this year, the telco questioned before the Court of Appeals (CA) DOLE’s order for it to grant regular employment status to its contractual workers.
The issue came to a head in July after Bello revealed that the reason behind PLDT’s stubbornness was because some of its high-ranking officials owned the noncompliant agencies providing services to the telco. He alleged that by complying with DOLE’s order, these businesses would take a hit.
Later that month, the CA sustained with modifications DOLE’s compliance order when it said that those involved in the telco’s installation, repair, and maintenance services should be regularized.
While DOLE filed a motion for reconsideration last week, Bello said they are open to withdraw their petition if they would be able to agree with PLDT to a plan beneficial to the workers.
PLDT is the last of the top three companies suspected of being involved in labor-only contracting practices to submit a regularization plan to DOLE.
Bello said Friday that fast-food giant Jollibee is already working on its regularization plan. On the other hand, fruit canning firm Dole Philippines Inc. committed last week that it would grant regular employment status to 4,765 workers in its two South Cotabato plants.
These developments, Bello said, is proof that “little by little” they are able to finally put an end to the unlawful labor arrangement that has deprived workers for years of security of tenure and the opportunity to have a good life. /kga
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