Not so jolly: Jollibee tops list of companies with most contractual employees

PHOTO: Facebook/ Jollibee
PHOTO: Facebook/ Jollibee

Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee may evoke a lot of happy feels among its fans but that does not mean it is safe from its own corporate drama.

It turns out that the maker of Chickenjoys the world over has the most number of contractual employees in the Philippines, according to data released by the country’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday.

The list consisted of 20 companies suspected of labor-only contracting and included other high-profile businesses like Dole Philippines and PLDT Inc, the largest telecommunications and digital services company in the country. It was created after an inspection by the DOLE over the last two years.

According to the labor department, Jollibee has 14,960 “affected” workers. Dole Philippines and PLDT, on the other hand, have 10,521 and 8,310, “affected workers,” respectively.

This data comes just weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order prohibiting illegal “contractualization.”

Known colloquially as “endo” which is short for “end of contract,” contractualization refers to when businesses hire employees under a fixed-term contract of fewer than six months to avoid having to regularize workers, a common practice in the Philippines.

While talking to media yesterday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that they found 3,377 companies that are involved in labor-only contracting, Rappler reported. These companies, the labor secretary said, can submit a proposed regularization program for its employees, which the department will review.

According to Bello, Jollibee had already submitted such a program but he thought the proposed regularization scheme was not enough.

“A week ago, Jollibee submitted a regularization order [to DOLE]. They said they will make 1,000 workers regular every year. I find that number too small,” he said in English and Filipino.

Last month, the DOLE instructed Jollibee to “regularize” (make permanent) the jobs of more than 6,000 workers. Jollibee appealed the order and said in a statement that it had been following the rules set by the department’s Department Order (DO) 174.

DO 174 states that the responsibility to regularize workers lies with “service contractor” agencies and not companies, like Jollibee, who pay for their services.

“In compliance with regulations, we only deal with reputable Service Contractors that have been duly accredited and registered with DOLE,” Jollibee said in a statement last month.

Contractualization isn’t the only employment-related controversy that has marred Jollibee’s reputation.

In August, it was blasted for turning away trans woman Bunny Cadag who was supposed to work as a transcriber in their corporate office.

Cadag shared the incident on Facebook and said she was told that Jollibee was not ready for LGBT culture. Her post was shared thousands of times, prompting Jollibee to issue an apology and calling it an “isolated incident.”


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