Sunday, April 27, 2008


Jayson, a member of Chow King's service crew at a branch I frequent in Quiapo told me that next week would be his last. His 4-month contract with this franchised restaurant has come to an end. He said this as he served me the halo-halo I had ordered one hot afternoon last week after getting some photos printed.

Since I've noticed that he has always been an efficient worker with a pleasing personality, told him that I was expecting that he would be hired as a regular employee anytime soon. At some companies in the States, most kids sign on as temporary or part-time employees. And in most cases, once they've proven they're worth their salt, so to speak, they'd usually end up being asked to come on board as full time staff members.

Unfortunately, it is not the same here. Jayson told me that the best he could hope for is for his manager to recommend him for a 4-month contract but at another branch of Chow King. In essence, he could spend the next few years of his young life moving from one Chow King branch to another without ever enjoying the basic benefits and perks given to regular employees.

When I mentioned this to my sister, she said that SM also engages in similar unfair employment practices. It's a way for a company to cut operating costs, she added.

As for Jayson, he has one more year to go with his studies at a maritime college in Manila. He said with a tinge of sadness that as soon as he graduates and receives his degree, he will immediately apply for a job abroad as a merchant marine. This he considers a viable option to enable him to help his mother (a single mom) defray the costs of his two younger siblings' schooling.

I bear no resentment towards Chow King or SM Department Stores, for their quarterly earnings must meet the expectations and demands of their investors. But nonetheless, with their continued successes in their respective industry, I wish someday soon they will strive to improve their employee benefit programs as well.


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:22 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...


My second son, Aypee, has just graduated and just like Jayson, he doesn't see any promise of good employment here in our country. There's no other choice for him but to go to the States for work.

We marvel at being an independent country. Democracy and freedom rule in our land. And yet we are not really free as many of us suffer from the bondage of economic want.

April 27, 2008 9:52 AM  

Blogger Toe said...

I don't know how SM and other department stores and Chow King and other fastfoods could last this long without anyone suing them for unfair labor practices. If I'm not mistaken, permanent recruitment of temps are illegal under the Labor Code. That's really very sad.

April 27, 2008 11:26 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Aypee stands a better chance than most because of his degree from a prestigious university, Rhoda.

But you're right, with the recent number of graduates totalling to about a couple of hundred thousand, getting a decent entry level jobs for these young newbies may indeed prove to be a challenging task.

What is one to do but seek other opportunities out of the country :(

April 27, 2008 11:38 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm not well-versed in our local employment laws, Toe, but check this out: in the States, there is a McDonald's clause that allows such such fast food entities to pay a starting salary below the required minimum.

Nonetheless, hugely successful firms ought to take the initiative to provide theis employees with the best benefit package they could afford. Similarly, said employees should be open to salary cuts when these companies go through dire financial straits.

April 27, 2008 11:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corporations have no heart, their God is Profit and more of it.

The world will be better off without greedy businesspersons, lying and power hungry politicians and religious pricks (I think I meant to type freak LOL) - not necessarily in that order.

April 27, 2008 12:54 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... true, bertN. Regrettably, corporations are established to be an organized profit-making endeavor.

But nonetheless, it is the employees who toil to keep the profits coming in.

April 27, 2008 3:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, re: Toe's comment.

Nobody wants to lift a finger to sue them because it will only entail a lot of work, time and of course, money.

Eh, kesa naman ubusin ng mga maliliit na manggagawang ito ang kanilang oras sa pakikipaglaban para sa kanilang karapatan, pipiliin na lang nilang humanap ng ibang trabaho o kaya mangibang-bansa na lang.

And sadly too, there are even some labor arbiters who tend to "protect" these giant companies. You know - the David and Goliath scenario.

April 27, 2008 3:53 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I even know companies who renew the temporary contracts again and again. So their employees are always enrolled under a temporarily contract even if they already worked in the same companies for several years.

April 27, 2008 4:04 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sadly, everything you said is true, Rhoda :(

Hopefully, you will one day make a difference and find time to guide some of these less-privileged folks.

April 27, 2008 5:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is so exploitative, Sidney. Such shameful act.

Not sure whether its true or not, but I was told by one worker that SM favors those of certain religious faith when hiring full time employees.

April 27, 2008 5:58 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

The popular term used for this is "endo" or "end-of-contract." This is very typical of almost all companies hiring temps all over the Philippines. Lahat ng fastfood chains and department stores do this. It's just one big rigodon. These temps just make the rounds of the different branches every 4 months or so. It's a very sad fact.

April 27, 2008 8:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

As if rubbing salt to an open wound, some temps I had spoken to, Cookie, claim they're treated as second class citizens by some of the full time employees of these large department stores. Jeeez!

April 28, 2008 7:38 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Even big factories employ this unfair labor practice. Reputable US companies prohibit their suppliers here to hire contractual employees or even sub-contractors. But somehow, some factories get away with this despite labor unions in place. It only goes to show that not all unions look after the welfare of workers…union leaders look after their own pockets, too. But factories in the furniture, handicraft and garment industries that practice this would end up as losers because they would eventually lose their skilled workers to competitors, and worse, to China. It’s a shame that companies are willing to spend money in training new people every 6 months than invest in hiring permanent employees.

April 28, 2008 12:45 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's the saddest part of all, Luna, that we begin losing many of our manufacturing jobs to China.

But I'm sure we have many local (not multinational) companies that pursue fair labor practices and treat their employees well.

April 28, 2008 7:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's awful they can't give an good employee permanency. hope this guys finds better opportunities.

April 29, 2008 6:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is such a pitiful state of affairs, Nell. I feel bad for our young people :(

April 29, 2008 6:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a movie entitled "Endo" and was featured during the Cinemalaya Film Festival last year. It won the grand prize.

This is really true. I for one worked as a "temp" before and sadly, you will really feel the discrimination between the regulars and the workers like me.

One has to gain a lot of job experiences to have an advantage.

-el cineasta

April 29, 2008 10:13 PM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

oh yes.. some companies are so unfair..

April 30, 2008 12:01 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"Endo" probably reflected the pains of our temp workers; hence, it garnered such prestigious award, Cineasta.

I also worked once as a temp in NYC, and there was one full time employee who gained much pleasure in teasing me as being "only a temp." After only a couple of months I was offered a full time position in that firm, but you can only imagine how thrilling it was for me to say, "No, thank you. Just received a much better offer from another firm across town." Hehehe.

April 30, 2008 6:27 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Who knows, Mimi? These employers who engage in unfair practices may inspire many Pinoys to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit and someday make wonderful differences :)

April 30, 2008 6:31 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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