SOT: Putting contractualization into law


End ENDO your face. This seems to be the message of the US-Duterte regime to workers after railroading in Congress the approval of the Security of Tenure (SOT) Bill before the 17th Congress ended.

Duterte has promised to end contractualization since he came to power. In 2017 and 2018, he attempted to pacify workers by issuing orders which purportedly aim to push for regularization of workers. These, however, actually further reinforced contractualization schemes. Among these are the Department of Labor and Employment Order 174 and Executive Order 51, issued in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which were both rejected by labor groups.

As these orders are essentially toothless, Duterte passed the responsibility of ending contractualization to Congress.

Job insecurity

Contrary to its title, the final draft of the SOT Bill approved in Congress will not ensure job security. It will only put into law and not end contractualization. This is worse than DOLE and Duterte orders as the latter can be easily superseded unlike laws that are enacted.

Similar to previous orders, SOT allows job outsourcing (contracting of workers from labor agencies). Like other forms of contractualization, it absolves capitalists from all their legal obligations and leaves the task of upholding labor rights to contractors or labor agencies. Its primary objective is to minimize the labor cost of capitalists and deny workers of their labor rights.

In the case of big malls, capitalists may argue that they do not directly employ their salesladies as their primary business is leasing out commercial spaces and not selling products. This subterfuge has long been used by big bourgeois compradors to perpetuate the contractual status of their workers.

This bill is no different to the current system, wherein the DOLE purportedly deploys inspectors to companies that practice contractualization, who in most cases, side with capitalists. It comes as no surprise that the bill was approved by Congress and was loosely accepted by capitalists.

SOT: Putting contractualization into law