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Senate planning inquiry on employment practices

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Sen. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva -- INTERAKSYON

SENATOR Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva plans to open a Senate inquiry into employment practices like ‘endo,’ following a recent order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to regularize over 6,000 workers of Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC).

“We are looking at the possibility of filing a Senate resolution to investigate the abusive ‘endo’ practices of some companies and to look into the monitoring capacity of the DoLE in ensuring that companies comply with their orders of regularization,” said Mr. Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, in a statement on Thursday.

While he welcomed the DoLE’s campaign against illegal labor practices, Mr. Villanueva reiterated the calls of labor groups for a stronger policy against contractualization.

“We would like to echo the call of the labor groups that orders of regularization would be most meaningful if there is actual regularization, duly accounted for, where and who are the new regulars, and not just reading about it in newspapers or listed in the order,” he said.

The DoLE ordered regular employment status for JFC’s workers and the refund of “illegally collected payments” worth nearly P20 million.

It was also set to inspect and to conduct conferences with other fastfood restaurants, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Chowking, in connection with their compliance with labor laws.

Malacañang has said that the total ban on contractualization sought by labor groups needed “legislative action” by Congress instead of an executive order (EO) by the President.

Mr. Villanueva has called for an EO on contractualization to guide legislators in coming up with a law banning the labor practice, which denies workers a pathway to permanent employment and the benefits associated with it, and to ensure its effectiveness once passed into law.

The proposed measure, also called the Security of Tenure bill, has been identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) as among the priority bills of Congress. While the House of Representatives passed its version last January, it remains pending at the committee level in the Senate.

However, Mr. Villanueva said the committee report on the contractualization bill was now in its “final stages” for plenary action as he awaits the “clear position” of DoLE on the proposed measure. — Camille A. Aguinaldo