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PLDT says no deal with DOLE on labor row

Firm to pursue case based on Court of Appeals decision
/ 05:07 AM September 04, 2018

Telecom giant PLDT Inc., which is involved in a legal tussle with the Department of Labor and Employment over the regularization of thousands of employees, said it was not in talks on a possible compromise with the DOLE.

PLDT issued the statement days after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he was poised to meet with PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan over a potential deal to regularize a portion of some 7,300 contractual workers.

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“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,” PLDT said in its statement.

PLDT was among the companies that DOLE alleged as having employed illegal contracting actives, a practice seen to keep expenses down.

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In its statement, PLDT highlighted portions of the CA’s decision to halt the DOLE’s order. Set aside were the regularization of workers providing janitorial, clerical, IT and back office support, sales and medical services, among others.

PLDT noted that on Aug. 20, it filed a motion “seeking a partial reconsideration of that part of the CA decision, which ordered a remand to the Office of the Regional Director of the DOLE-National Capital Region of the matter of the regularization of individuals performing installation, repair and maintenance (IRM) services.”

It argued further that the fact-finding process contemplated by the Court’s remand order fell outside the jurisdiction of the secretary of labor.

PLDT further questioned the portion of the CA ruling that appeared to conclude that all IRM jobs are “regular,” noting that some of these jobs could be classified as 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,’” PLDT said.

PLDT officials had earlier admitted that the DOLE order hampered its ability to deliver services to its customers.

It comes at a time when PLDT is investing more to bolster its fixed-line and mobile networks. Capital spending in 2018 alone is estimated at a record P58 billion.

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PLDT reported last month that core earnings in the first semester of 2018 rose 6 percent to almost P13 billion. Its recurring core profit, however, was down 1 percent to P11.73 billion.

Total service revenues during the period hit P72.45 billion, up 2 percent.

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 was earlier quoted as saying that fast-food giant Jollibee was already working on its regularization plan. Fruit-canning firm Dole Philippines Inc. has also reportedly committed that it would grant regular employment status to 4,765 workers in its two South Cotabato plants.

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TAGS: Business, DOLE, Secretary Silvestre Bello, Telecom giant PLDT Inc.
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