More workers threatened to hold work stoppage in the first half of the year due to disputes with their management, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported.
In a document obtained by the BusinessMirror, the DOLE’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) reported the number of notice of strikes (NOS) from January to July this year have reached 155.
This is 18.7 percent higher compared to the 126 NOS figures during the same period last year.
The bulk, or 86, of the NOS cases filed to the DOLE this year stemmed from unfair labor practice (ULP), while the remaining 30 was due to deadlocks because in collective bargaining deadlock (CBD). Only eight cases could be attributed to both ULP and CBD.
Despite the surge in number of NOS, few of the said cases escalated to a full blown labor strike.
During the first six months of 2018, NCMB said, it only handled five labor strikes nationwide. One of the said cases was even classified as a “wildcat strike” since the involved workers who did not comply with the NOS requirement.
The five labor strike cases were from Goodyear Steel Pipe Corp., Ateneo de Manila University, Middleby Philippines Inc., NutriAsia Inc. and Valencia Rubbertex Inc.
Except for the case of Valencia Rubbertex Inc., all of the said cases were successfully resolved by the NCMB.
Compared to the 13 labor strikes during the same period last year, this was significantly lower.
In a news statement, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) attributed the “emerging labor unrest” to the “ambiguous” government policy on contractualization, particularly DOLE’s Department Order (DO) 174.
The labor group claimed DO 174 exposed contractual workers to the retaliatory attack of employers, instead of improving their welfare.
DO 174 contained stricter policies for the registration of service contractors, as well as stricter definition of illegal forms of contractualization.
BMP President Luke Espiritu said “employers abruptly terminated their workers after being discovered [by DOLE] to have violated multiple labor standards including DO 174.”
He urged the DOLE to addressed the “loopholes” in its policies on contractualization to eliminate the “litiguous nature” of its regularization orders.