LABOR URGED TO USE LABOR VOTE TO ADVANCE LABOR AGENDA. May 1 protest demands a stop to layoffs and contractualization.
May 1 protest demands a stop to layoffs and contractualization
Workers Party - Philippines
The call to stop mass layoffs and labor contractualization rang loud and clear in protests on Labor Day. The demand to reform the wage fixing system and abolish the wage boards were also highlighted in the protest motorcade dubbed “Sakbayan para sa Trabahong Regular at Dagdag Sahod” by the party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM - Workers Party).
“Can the 3,000 PAL employees to be retrenched on May 31 find work in the Labor Day job fairs of the government? If ever they do, they will probably end up as contractual workers, which is their same fate in the spun off companies to be created by Lucio Tan. Regular jobs are being destroyed and replaced by contractual work in which wages are cheaper, benefits are fewer and security of tenure is abolished,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.
The May 1 motorcade converged by 7:00 a.m. at the PAL In Flight Center along Airport Road in Paranaque. A program was held in which Gerry Rivera, PAL Employees Association (PALEA) president and PM vice-chairperson, was the main speaker. The motorcade then proceeded to Mendiola for a joint program with other labor groups by 10:00 a.m.
Rivera criticized the Department of Labor and Employment for assuming jurisdiction (AJ) of the labor dispute in PAL when PALEA has not even held a strike vote and has not yet discussed holding a strike. The AJ order was dated April 23, 2010 and stopped PALEA from continuing with the protest motorcades that had mobilized hundreds of workers last week.
Magtubo called on PAL to cancel the retrenchment planned for May 31. “The failure of elections that could result from a slowdown or paralysis of PAL’s operations is the responsibility of management since it provoked the labor dispute,” Magtubo argued. PM is supporting the series of protest actions by PAL workers against spinoff and contractualization.
Magtubo also lambasted the government for freezing wages for the past two years and its announcement that no wage hike is forthcoming. “The minimum wage has been stuck at P382 while the prices of basic goods and services have skyrocketed. In the midst of rotating brownouts and less energy consumption, consumers’ electricity bills have increased by 50% and yet the government will not lift a finger to ease workers’ burdens. To the bitter end, the Gloria Arroyo regime remains anti-labor,” he exclaimed.
PM also led May 1 protests in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao and Iligan. In Cebu, more than 1,000 workers marched to the campout of the displaced Alta Mode workers at the gates of the Mactan export processing zone. PAL workers in Cebu joined the Labor Day program at the Alta Mode campout. In Bacolod, a caravan of more than 20 trucks from plantations in South Negros entered Bacolod in the morning and met with other contingents for an indoor rally at the Teacher Center. At the end of the indoor rally by 3:00 p.m., the participants marched to SM-Bacolod where a job fair was being held and tore in half an employment contract in a symbolic protest at contractualization.
Meanwhile in Iloilo City, a caravan of 20 jeeps ended in a rally at Plaza Letogay. In Davao, PM members assembled by 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Magsaysay and Roxas Blvds. before marching to Orcullo Freedom Park for a joint rally with other groups. Also in Iligan, PM joined a labor unity parade by the different labor groups that went around the downtown area. A program was then held at the City Plaza where workers concerns were discussed. Finally in Koronadal City, PM members led by the union of the Yellow Bus Line marched around the downtown area in the afternoon.
LABOR URGED TO USE LABOR VOTE TO ADVANCE LABOR AGENDA
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Globalization continues to wreak havoc over the working class. The unfettered market forces it unleashed have resulted to a steep decline in the country’s industrial and agricultural sector, precipitating a massive unemployment crisis and widespread poverty. This is exacerbated by the widespread use and abuse of precarious forms of employment.
At the same time, labor rights are routinely violated as the country’s labor justice system remains slow and litigious, legitimized by martial law-crafted Labor Code with all its anti-worker and anti-union features. This dismal situation in the labor front, mixed with the government’s counter insurgency program, proved to be deadly for trade unionists, journalists and activists.
In this light, the different labor groups, coming from diverse ideological orientations, banded together under the Labor Agenda Coalition to promote and advance the policy of full employment, increased social protection, labor justice and strengthened protection of labor rights. Among its more important features are:
Secure and quality jobs: The workers’ constitutional right to security of tenure must be upheld as central government policy. All policies, including monetary, fiscal, trade and industrial policies, must be redirected towards the creation of secure and quality jobs for all. All our trade commitments, both the bilateral and multilateral, must be reviewed and renegotiated to ensure more equitable terms that would lead to development of a self-reliant economy and benefit the domestic labor force.
Improve labor justice system: The foremost need is to amend the Labor Code to dismantle all anti-labor provisions including procedural restrictions on the right to strike, free ingress/egress of company goods and personnel during strikes, limitations on the issues that are strikeable, and cumbersome union recognition procedures. The labor arbitration and adjudication system should be reformed towards streamlining and achieving full efficiency.
Strengthen trade union rights: The Assumption of Jurisdiction powers of the Secretary of Labor should be limited to those in the essential services as clearly defined by the ILO. Labor laws and policies particularly those that safeguard core labor standards, as well as the freedom of association and organization and the right to collective bargaining and strike, should be changed to comply with ILO conventions.
Uphold civil and political rights: Justice must be rendered to all victims of trade union and human rights violations. Victims must be indemnified while the perpetrators must be apprehended and punish.
Social and Economic Reforms: Fiscal policies should be reviewed and the automatic appropriations policy should be repealed to maximize budget allocation for public services, including the allocations for healthcare and education. A thoroughgoing agrarian reform must be implemented to pave the way for industrialization. The Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA) should be improved and implemented to facilitate and provide affordable if not free housing units to every family of workers and the urban and rural poor. An unemployment insurance system must be adopted after a careful study.
To ensure the implementation of labor’s priority agenda, workers must be represented in government bodies whose decisions affect the welfare of the working class.
The Labor Agenda Coalition calls on all workers to renew their commitment to the emancipation of the toiling people.
Labor Challenges Presidential Candidates to Adopt Labor Agenda
Major labor unions and federations want workers’ representatives to be appointed as undersecretary in key government agencies like the Labor, Trade, Housing, Transportation and Environment Departments to ensure transparency particularly in areas affecting the labor sector.
This is among the labor unities agreed upon by 26 labor groups and alliances to be presented to leading presidential candidates. Together, these groups represent at least 300,000 members nationwide. The said common labor agenda will be the highlight of their joint Labor Day celebration on May 1.
Frank Mero spokespersons of the labor alliance, said that workers’ issues should be among the top priorities of the new government. “It is high time for candidates to go beyond the rhetoric of poverty alleviation and give a more concrete program of action to ensure employment and decent work condition for the working class,” Mero emphasized.
Among the other demands for policy reforms are those that concern security of tenure and workers’ protection against corporate restructuring in the public and private sectors. Likewise, the labor groups demand that “trade, monetary, fiscal and industrial policies are directed at quality job creation within the country so that working abroad will become a matter of choice rather than of necessity.”
In a joint declaration, the labor groups demand that the new government should give priority to workers’ rights and welfare – which includes demand for a full and impartial investigation of cases that violated trade union and human rights, as well as the enactment of executive measures to ensure that civil and political rights of workers are protected.
The joint declaration also includes social reforms such as full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program- Extension with Reforms (Carper), the modification of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 and a more equitable allocation of the IRA.
“We challenge all national candidates to adopt this labor agenda as their part of their platform which will serve as the basis for workers’ support to their candidacies,” Mero said.
The major labor centers endorsing the labor agenda are the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Pilipinas (KPMP), Lakas Manggaggawa Labor Center (LMLC) and Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN).
Major labor organization, federations and industry alliances also endorsed the agenda. They are the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance (PMA), Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (ACCUP), Automotive Industry Workers’ Alliance (AIWA), Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU), Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU), Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa GFIs (KAMAGFI), Kapisanan ng mga Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), Liga Mangagagawa, Nagkaisang Lakas ng mga Manggagawa (NLM), Metro East Labor Federation (MELF), National Alliance of Broadcast Unions (NABU), National Confederation of Transport Workers’ Unions (NCTU), National Federation of Labor (NFL), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Labor Union (NLU), National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE), National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW), National Union of Workers in Hotel Restaurants and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Partido ng Mangagagawa (PM), Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anak Pawis (PIGLAS), Postal Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Solidarity of Unions for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER FED), United Cavite Workers’ Association (UCWA) and Workers’ Solidarity Network (WSN).
Gobyerno ng Masa hindi ng mga trapo at elitista
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Union of Filipino Workers
Gugunitain natin ang Mayo Uno sa taong ito sa gitna ng nagsasalimbayang pangangampanya ng mga kandidato para sa pwesto sa gobyerno mula konsehal ng bayan hanggang pangulo sa Malakanyang. Lahat ay nangangakong sila ay magiging matinong lingkod ng bayan kapag nahalal, lalabanan ang kurapsyon, tatapusin ang kahirapan, magiging tapat na kakampi ng mahihirap at kung anu-ano pang linya ng pagpapahayag na nag-i-enganyong sila ay iboto ng mamamayan.
Kasinungalingang lahat! Wala sa sino man sa mga tradisyunal na kandidato at partidong nangangampanya ngayon ang may kakayanang mabago ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa, nang dumaraming bilang ng mga maralita at ng masang anakpawis. Sapagkat, ipagpag mo man ng ilang beses ang kanilang plataporma ay di mo makikita ang pagtuligsa sa kapitalistang sistema bilang syang pinag-uugatan ng kahirapan at kaapihan ng masa ng sambayanan.
Ni ang pagsuporta sa mga ipinapanawagang reporma upang maibsan man lamang ang hirap na dinaranas ng mamamayan ay di nila magawa. Wala ni isa sa mga kandidatong presidente ngayon ang nagsasalita laban sa problemang kontraktwalisasyon, demolisyon, oil deregulation law, pribatisasyon, liberalisasyon at sa automatic appropriation. At lalong wala sa mga “prominenteng partido” ang nagpapanukala na baligtarin na ang Neo-liberal na patakarang pang-ekonomiya na isinalaksak sa ating bayan ng mga dambuhalang kapitalista sa daigdig.
Ang mga nabangit na usapin sa itaas ang ekspresyon ng kapitalistang pagsasamantala sa mga manggagawa at mamamayang Pilipino. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit lumiit na nang todo ang bilang ng mga regular na manggagawa, lumaganap ang mga manggagawang kontraktwal na kapos sa sahod, benepisyo, di tuloy tuloy ang trabaho at wala halos karapatan. Ito rin ang dahilan ng walang awang pagwasak sa mga tahanan ng mga kapatid nating maralita at pagkasadlak sa kagutuman at kaapihan ng maraming mamamayan sa lunsod man o kanayunan.
Kaya’t ang kawalan ng tindig sa mga isyung ito ng mga kandidato ngayon sa pagkapresidente at ng kani-kanilang partido ay ebidensya na walang mapapakinabang ang masa ng sambayanan sa eleksyong ito, sino man sa kanila ang manalo.
Ang mas masama, ang mismong inaasam ng mamamayan na mapalitan na si Gloria Arroyo ay di pa rin syento por yiento, dahil hanggang sa ngayon wala pa ring tigil ang kampo ni Arroyo sa pagmamaniobra para makapanatili sa pwesto. Maugong ang usapin ng Failure of Election! Ang secret deal ng kampo ni Villar at Arroyo (Villaroyo) kasabay ng nabubulgar na mga maniobra bilang paghahanda sa malawakang pandaraya, bago at sa aktwal na halalan.
Anu’t ano man ang kalalabasan, matuloy man o hindi ang eleksyon, walang mapapala ang masang Pilipino. Dahil ito ay labanan lamang sa pagitan ng mga elitistang partido! Kaya’t iikot lamang sa sirkulo ng makakapamayaning partido ang anumang yamang lilikhain ng sambayanan sa darating na anim na taon. Hindi malulutas ang kurapsyon. Hindi malulutas ang kahirapan at ang kaapihang kinasasadlakan ng sambayanan.
Magiging katulad lang sila ng 14 na nagdaang mga presidente at partido na namuno sa gobyerno. Natapos ang kani-kanilang termino nang hindi naresolba ang problema bagkos ay lumala pa. Ito’y sapagkat laban sa kanilang interes, laban sa interes ng kanilang pamilya at laban sa interes ng mga kasapi ng kanilang partido ang totoong solusyon sa problema ng masang Pilipino.
Laban sa kanilang interes na pataasin ang sahod ng mga manggagawa, ipamahagi sa mga magsasaka ang malalawak na lupaing kanilang pag-aari, itigil ang demolisyon, itigil ang oil deregulation law, itigil na ang pagbabayad sa maanomalyang utang sa mga dambuhalang bangko at institusyong pampinansya at ipwesto ang mga lider ng masa sa gobyerno at hindi ang mga elitista. Ito ang panimulang solusyon para sa pagbabago na kailanman ay di nila gagawin.
Hindi sila kundi tayo ang may pinakamatibay na dahilan upang isulong ang pagbabago. Ito ay magagawa natin sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalawak at pagpapalakas ng ating sariling partido, ng pagpaparami ng mga kasapi ng ating partido na uukupa ng pwesto sa loob ng gobyerno at ng ating tuloy-tuloy na pakikibaka para wakasan ang elitistang pulitika at itayo ang Gobyerno ng Masa.
Lumahok sa ating pagkilos sa Mayo Uno. Gamitin natin ang araw na ito upang irehistro ang ating sariling agenda, ang ating totoong kahilingan para sa kagalingan ng masang manggagawa at maralita.
Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa! Mabuhay ang masang anakpawis!
BMP is a political organization of militant, democratic and socialist workers and unions. BMP envisions a society where working class is empowered in all spheres of social life; where the fruits of the toils of labor is wielded by workers through their political organizations, and where social and cultural norms and mores are truly effective of the dignity of labor. BMP is organizing the working class into a class-conscious and independent political force in the country today.
PM, APL, BMP