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Filipino workers say "Never Again"
by Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2009 at 4:37 AM

Workers belonging to the Coalition Against Contractualization (KONTRA) today marched to Mendiola to mark the anniversary of the signing of Proclamation 1081 that imposed Martial Law 37 years ago and to reaffirm their vows to never again let the country slip into darkness.

Filipino workers say...
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The people should never forget that the Martial Law plunged the country into a 14-year nightmare – a conjugal dictatorship, the suppression of all democratic rights and civil liberties, the imprisonment of some 50,000 Filipinos, and the torture, murder and disappearance of thousands, many of them trade union leaders, women, peasants and students.

At the same time, Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution should remind everyone that only through solidarity could tyranny be defeated.

Today, 23 years after the downfall of Marcos Dictatorship, the working class continues to suffer from the tyranny of economic injustice and political marginalization.

Despite modest economic growth these past few years, the gap between the rich and the poor continue to widen as workers’ share in the country’s income shrinks. Chronic unemployment, massive underemployment and the rampant use of contractual labor have condemned wide swatches of the population to live below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, the elites have once again proven their inability to govern democratically as the working people are marginalized from any meaningful participation in decision-making.

In all these years, workers are kept poor and powerless by a repressive labor relations system imposed by an anachronistic Labor Code that was imposed by the Marcos dictatorship in 1974 not so much to guarantee workers’ rights but to circumscribe it.

Thus, workers once again find themselves persecuted whenever they exercise their constitutional rights to organize, collectively bargain and to strike. The truth is, these fundamental rights are rendered meaningless by the litigious nature of labor relations and the breakdown of the country’s legal system. At the same time, many workers, especially those in the public sector, are still denied their right to collectively bargain and to strike.

To make matters worse, a dirty war is being waged in this country. Some factories and whole communities are being militarized as part of a counter insurgency campaign. Trade unionists are being labeled ‘terrorists’ when in fact they are the victims of ‘state terrorism’. They are being hunted down, forcing the victims and their families to live in fear.

Indeed, Martial Law is alive and well in the labor front!

It is no surprise then that there are only 226,000 workers covered by collective bargaining agreements!

It is in this light that KONTRA is renewing its commitment to defend and advance real democracy in the country.

KONTRA is the broadest labor coalition against contractualization. Participating in today’s rally are workers belonging to AGLO, APL, BMP, CIU, KPMP, MAKABAYAN, PM, PMA, and PSLINK.

Labor groups cry “End Martial Law against the workers” as ILO mission due to arrive

Labor groups under the umbrella of Coalition Against Contractualization (KONTRA), the broadest trade union coalition against massive contractualization, denounced the suppression of the workers right to organize as a High Level Mission (HLM) from the International Labor Organization (ILO) is due to arrive next week.

“The Philippines is the most dangerous country for trade unionists next to Columbia,” according to a statement from the group. The ILO HLM will investigate the government’s implementation of the ILO Convention 87 on the right to self-organization on the basis of complaints of extrajudicial killings of labor rights advocates and anti-union campaigns by the military and the state.

“Martial law is alive and well in the labor front two decades after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. Systematic violations of the right to unionize stem from the fact that the labor relations in the country is governed by a Labor Code that was designed by the Marcos dictatorship not so much to guarantee workers’ rights but to suppress them to attract and maintain investments. Ironically the ramparts of the dictatorship in were dismantled 1986 except the chains bearing down on workers,” KONTRA argued in a statement.

The groups announced that a mobilization is planned on September 21 with the theme “Wakasan ang Batas Militar sa Paggawa.” The rally will start at 9 am in Morayta, Manila. KONTRA also appealed to the ILO HLM to call the government to task for “systematic violations” of the right to organize.

The groups presented a 10-point list of issues relating to breach of Convention 87:
1. The government’s counter-insurgency program and the policies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that brands some trade unions as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines;
2. The constraints to organizing in the Export Processing Zones that has a de facto “no-union, no-strike policy”;
3. The use and abuse of the Assumption of Jurisdiction statute for its scope, which is well beyond essential services, and for its arbitrary implementation;
4. The use of libel, sedition and other criminal charges against unionists;
5. The implementation of RA 9481 that sought to strengthen workers' right to self-organization but was negated by the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE);
6. The government’s definition of what encompasses a strike and how workers’ freedom of expression was effectively curtailed;
7. The rampant use of contractual labor as union avoidance and union busting techniques;
8. The restrictions imposed by EO 180 on public sector workers’ right to organize;
9. The Public Sector Labor Management Council Resolution No. 1, which redefined the bargaining unit in the public sector, thus further constraining the exercise of collective bargaining;
10. The continuing absence of codified set of laws or work standards governing all public sector workers.

KONTRA is made up of the groups APL, CIU, KPMP, MALABAYAN, PM, PSLINK among others.

Filipino workers say "Never Again"
by Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2009 at 4:37 AM

Filipino workers say...
filipino-workers-protest.jpg, image/jpeg, 480x360

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