Duterte vetoes contract labour bill in the Philippines

The issue of contractors' rights continues to stir in the Philippines, with the President blocking a bill that he once supported.
By: | August 7, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has, in a surprise move, vetoed a bill that would have forced businesses to turn temporary staff into regular employees.

The proposed Security Tenure Bill would have given contract workers the entitlement of permanent jobs, with full benefits, after working six months in an otherwise temporary role.

This was a key platform in Duterte’s 2016 election campaign; the unorthodox politician had painted himself as an advocate for labour rights. Shortly after assuming power, he had even given an ultimatum to the business community about the need to reform: “Stop contractualisation or I will kill you,” he was famously quoted.

Duterte’s about-turn on the bill has been welcomed by factions of the business community, who have said this will protect the Philippine economy and attract investment that produces more jobs. Business chambers had called on him to block the bill, saying that in the current age of flexible working conditions, it would have returned the Philippines labour markets to the “dark ages”.