MANILA — Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza (Partylist, TUCP) has urged the House Committee on Labor and Employment to conduct an inquiry into the massive contractualization scheme of workers in Mindanao which deprived them of their right to security of tenure and other privileges provided under the labor laws.
Mendoza, author of House Resolution 1573, said labor-only contracting has circumvent the labor code denying the workers right to security of tenure, right to self-organization, right to collectively bargain, right to decent wages and right to occupational safety and health.
Mendoza cited the case of the workers of the Sumifru Corporation, a firm dealing in production and exportation of “Cavendish bananas”, pineapple and papayas in the Southern and Central Mindanao. The company is exporting its products to China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, New Zealand and Russia.
Mendoza said from June 2013 to June 2014, the Sumifru Corp. has terminated the services of its workers in Antipas, North Cotabato. Of the original 2,743 workers, only 529 were left.
Mendoza said the terminated workers were replaced by workers from Antipas Banana Workers Cooperative and Magsige MPC Agency who were asked to assume the job of the former regular workers of the Sumifru Corp.
“The use of tax exempt cooperatives which supplied workers to the company is clearly exploitative of the rights of the agricultural workers and exposing them to substandard wages, no overtime pay and without 13th month pay,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said through contractualization schemes and the use of “fake cooperatives”, no employer-employee relationship will arise between the workers and the agricultural plantation.
“If there is no legal employer-employee relationship, the workers will be unable to enjoy the right to organize, bargain collectively and the right to collective action through strike, all of which are fundamental rights protected by the labor code,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said the policy of contractualization will create a race-to-to-bottom whereby agricultural plantations will seek to create comparative advantages and top shore up their competitive position by lowering wages, denying overtime pay and 13th month pay.