ONE of the thrusts of the Duterte government is to promote the welfare of Filipino workers.
To achieve that, our workers should be given decent jobs with, of course, corresponding pay. There’s a joke that says, “Binigyan ka na ng trabaho, naghahanap ka pa ng sweldo.”
But more important than pay, I guess, is the tenure of security of workers. It’s the matter about having a good sleep knowing you still got the job when you wake up tomorrow.
Many of our poor countrymen can relate to this issue reversely because flipping it over will give us what is now called ‘endo’.
Endo is coined from the phrase ‘end of contract’. The labor department said endo finds its origin in employment contracts that are fixed term.
It refers to the period agreed upon between the employer and the employee. Under this contract, employment exists only for the duration of the term and ends on its own when the term expires.
This kind of employment was described by the labor department as fifth classification and good examples of which are overseas employment contract and probationary employment contract. Both have definite period. The lapse of which terminates employer-employee relationship.
I was told a respected labor arbiter, Marcial Galahad T. Makasiar of the National Labor Relations Commission, had a better explanation about endo’s downside.
The official remembers the incumbency of Minister Blas F. Ople at DOLE when industrial peace was achieved partly through the no-strike no lock-out policy.
Back then, labor-management concerns were coursed through the defunct Bureau of Labor Relations which was succeeded by the National Mediation and Conciliation Board.
The no strike no lock-out policy eventually faded during the Cory government.
In highly organized establishment, unionism became rampant and expressed through strikes and picketing.
I agree with Makasiar’s observation that although there were legitimate grounds to engage in such union activities, it affected industrial peace.
The employers’ sector had to find a way to shield its business concerns from the union activities. This gave birth to, among other schemes, limiting the period by which employees maintained their employment.
With that, endo came into being. Unfortunately, it slowly undermined the security of tenure of the working class.
Though the need for workers continued, as the business activities of employers did not cease, the employment status of workers were shortened to usually five months.
Hence, the affected employees were deprived of the opportunity to acquire the status of a regular employee, infringing upon their right to tenurial security.
At any rate, it is very rewarding to know from Makasiar that labor is property and the right to make it available is next in importance to the rights of life and liberty.
As enshrined under the Bill of Rights, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
Due process requires explanation and notice why employment is limited to less than six months or an employee is terminated.
On the other hand, endo may be good and applies beneficially to certain industries.
That’s the opinion relayed by labor expert and professor Atty. Pearlito Campanilla.
For him, labor is “market-driven.” In endo, the employee still enjoys all the benefits under the law, like the minimum wage, holiday pay, 13th Month Pay and even bonuses, depending on the contract.
Although there should be atop to endo in department stores and certain factories, it’s inevitable in some of the industries like tourism and other industries where there are seasonal demands.
For such industries, Endo is the employers’ way to protect themselves and the business from collapsing or going bankrupt.
This goes to say that endo has its good points and that it is only abused by unscrupulous employers.
It could support the fact that we cannot just scrap endo in all the industries because as what Campanilla could be pointing out, that will be economic suicide.
Government service could also be adversely affected since 20 to 30 percent of its workforce are by job order.
In the end, it appears that the problem lies not on ‘endo’ itself but on how it is implemented.
Given the circumstances where it is abused by employers or opposed by workers to pave the way for destructive unions, there is a need to study how the scheme could protect itself from being exploitated by businessmen and become a contract truly helpful to improve the plight of poor workers.
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