Strikes blamed on ambiguities

By Mario Mallari

Labor-only contracting is when w orkers are hired by a contractor but their work is supervised or controlled by the principal employer.

Varying interpretations of the Labor Code have resulted in labor disputes and, at times, violent protests and dispersals.

This, was the conclusion after the initial hearing of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human resources Development.

“These are our conclusions — ambiguous, unclear provisions of the Labor Code. The provisions were being run around and there are different interpretations,” said one of the senators.

“As a result, there is abuse in contractualization. It gave birth to labor disputes, strikes, protests and even violent dispersals of laborers,” the solon added.

During the initial hearing, the Senate committee invited officials from the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company and NutriAsia whose striking employees recently got involved in a violent dispersal in Bulacan.

At the start of the hearing, the respective representatives of unions of NutriAsia and PLDT were asked regarding their status of employment under the said companies.

Reynante Gudinez, representative of Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia, said that he is working at NutriAsia’s Marilao plant for 10 years. His job revolves on the weighing of ingredients.

For Gunidez, he believes that his job at the plant is “crucial for the company.” However, he was not hired directly by NutriAsia but employed by its toll packer/service provider, B-Mirk Enterprises Corporation.

His salary was also being cut down by B-Mirk because of his contributions in SSS, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG, among others.

Asked if they have a supervisor who oversees their job in the plant, Gudinez said that they have a supervisor who is a regular employee of NutriAsia.

“This is where the issue of control comes in. These workers are hired by a contractor but their work is being supervised or controlled by the principal employer. This could possibly be a factor that says that a company is engaged in labor-only contracting,” the committee members said.

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