DAVAO CITY – On the 29th anniversary of the passage of the Herrera Law, contractual workers of Coca-Cola FEMSA Davao and Julu Feeds, Inc. picketed the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to protest against the recent decision acquitting labor agencies working under both companies of Labor-Only Contracting (LOC). The decision earned the ire of the protesting contractual workers since under the law, if such agencies are proven to practice LOC, an employer-employee relationship automatically exists between the principal and the workers, meaning that the workers would attain regular status with both Coca-Cola and Julu as their employers, respectively.
The decision penned by the DOLE Regional Director Raymundo Agravante declared that the alleged existence of LOC by the agencies are “unfounded” and thus ruled against the workers.
Meanwhile, Kilusang Mayo Uno-SMR blasted the decision, saying that it was clearly arrived at without thorough examination and scrutiny of the evidence presented by the workers.
“We are frustrated with the arbitrary ruling of the DOLE Regional Director because the workers presented strong evidence that LOC exists. The agencies had no substantial capitalization and both Coca-Cola and Julu clearly exerted control over the conduct of workers, standards, and process. The DOLE deliberately ignored such evidence and just proceeded to decide in favor of the capitalists,” said Carl Anthony Olalo, secretary-general of KMU-SMR.
The labor center further stated that workers count on the DOLE to provide at least an objective view of each case before releasing a decision which has disastrous consequences on their livelihood.
“This decision deprives contractual workers with the security of tenure they deserve, after years of working for the company. The least that the DOLE can do is apply the letter of the law objectively, which it did not do,” added Olalo.
Olalo blamed the country’s existing labor laws, such as PD 442 or the Labor Code and the Herrera Law, for legitimizing or ignoring the insidiousness of contractualization. Olalo further admonished the DOLE that they should expect more intensified protests from the workers in light of the compromise position Pres. Duterte has taken with respect to ending contractualization.
“If Duterte takes his promises lightly, we do not. Work is our livelihood, and a property right. We will do everything we can in order to ensure that every contractual worker is regularized. We want Duterte to sign the EO prepared by the labor sector. It’s all or nothing,” concluded Olalo.###