Saturday, December 29, 2018

Labor Yearender: Endo, TRAIN spur labor disputes, workers’ unity

Image result for may 1 rally philippines

The unfulfilled promise to end contractualization and the runaway inflation due to the imposition of TRAIN led to an outbreak of labor disputes in 2018 and the forging of a historic unity among workers’ groups in the country. According to the latest data from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), there were 21% more notices of strikes from January to August this year compared to the same period last year. Of the nine actual strikes recorded, five of them involved issues of regularization of workers.

Spurred by the resurgence in workers’ militancy, the country’s rival labor groups finally came together in a joint mass action in the Labor Day commemoration this year. The coalition Nagkaisa, which comprise some 40 labor groups and institutions, joined forces with the Kilusang Mayo Uno in a massive May 1 march from Espana to Mendiola. The disparate labor groups once more came together, along with other social movements and civil society organizations, in the United People’s Action during the State of the Nation address of President Duterte. Formally coming together as Manggagawa Ayaw sa Diktadura, the rival labor organizations marched again as one to slam the threat of a new dictatorship during the commemoration of the declaration of martial law last September 21.

While statistics from the NCMB show that actual strikes were down from 15 to just 9 (January to August this year compared to last year), the government’s data is inaccurate. To cite just one example, it does not include the strike last May at the Dong Seung garments factory in the Cavite ecozone. The Dong Seung strike is the latest in a string of disputes and struggles at the country’s biggest ecozone in the last four years. As a result, a dialogue finally started this year between labor groups, the DOLE and the Philippine Ecozone Authority to guarantee respect for freedom of association.

As the latest NCMB data covered only August, it does not list the biggest strike this year. On September 28, workers of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco in Marikina and Vigan went on strike for more than one month against mass layoff and job outsourcing.  Undoubtedly many of the disputes and majority of the actual strikes involve contractualization.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced in its yearend report that some 400,000 workers were regularized this year. If it were true, it is most welcome. Unfortunately the data is suspect as it has not been independently verified. The DOLE based its figures from reports by companies which obviously have an interest in bloating the numbers. It was also not reported if the workers were made regular in the principal companies or just in the manpower agencies.

What is undeniable is that the DOLE’s own compliance orders to regularize workers in the country’s biggest companies have not been implemented. Worse, it has led to mass termination of workers. Last October the DOLE NCR regional office released an order to regularize some 2,600 contractual workers in dozens of agencies used by Philippine Airlines and PAL Express. The order has been appealed by management and has not been complied with. A similar order early this year on the telco giant PLDT to regularize 7,300 endo employees was defied through the termination of service contracts with 39 contractors and thus the retrenchment of the workers.

In the face of a spike in prices, a wave of wage hikes were ordered by different regional wage boards in the country. The increases however were below the amount needed to recover the lost purchasing power of workers’ wages. To cite an example, the P25 hike in Metro Manila is short by 30% to make up for the P35.84 erosion in wages due to the average 7% inflation in the NCR. Partido Manggagawa’s own cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day, more than double the new minimum wage of P537. This continues the pattern of worsening inequality—real wages are stagnating despite the 50% productivity growth from 2001 to 2016.

The coming new year under the neoliberal and bloody policies of the Duterte administration does not augur well for the working class. On the heap of the broken promises of ending endo and abolishing regional wages, the workers should develop their own power through unity and action. The challenge for the workers movement in 2019 is to build upon the resurgence of militancy and the forging of labor unity to make the popular clamor for change a reality.

December 29, 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018

PM sides with riders and commuters in opposing double big plate and ban on Angkas

Image result for image riders protest mro

Workers are both riders and commuters, thus, imposing rigid and prohibitive rules in the streets adds more burden to the working people and reinforces class discrimination in the guise of road safety and anti-crime campaign.

According to Partido Manggagawa (PM), the ban on Angkas operations, a popular motorcycle taxi denies thousands of working people a faster and safer mobility in NCR while the recently enacted law requiring double big plates for motorcycles is an added cost and poses safety concerns for riders whose vehicles were not designed for such anti-crime innovations.

"Banning Angkas and requiring double big plates on motorcycles will neither improve traffic conditions and road safety nor contain criminal activities of organized crime groups. Only organized communities, a disciplined police force, and a modern mass transport system can solve these age old public services deficit," said PM in a statement issued during the indignation activities conducted by thousands of motorcycle riders in Quezon City this morning.

The group said workers utilize motorcycles as the most economical and faster mode of bringing themselves to their workplaces or as the means of livelihood themselves as in the case of app-abled Angkas and other courier services.

"The government must adopt a flexible policy on this issue as rigid and discriminatory rules impacts heavily on workers," added PM.

At the same time it urges the riding community to help the government in ensuring road safety by raising the level of training and professionalism among riders in particular and by actively involving themselves in anti-crime, environment, emergency response and other social mobilizations at the community levels.

16 December 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Press Release: End to endo, wage boards top labor partylist demands on Bonifacio Day

The abolition of contractualization and the regional wage boards were the top demands of the labor partylist Partido Manggagawa (PM) in nationwide rallies to commemorate Bonifacio Day. Some one thousand workers, urban poor, community youth and college students joined the mobilization in Manila. Coordinated rallies were also held today in Cebu, Bacolod and Davao.

“If Gat Andres Bonifacio were alive today, he would no doubt be leading another revolution to defend workers against the onslaught of endo by greedy capitalists, the cheapening of wages by the regional wage boards and the loss of our sovereignty to both the US and China. To symbolize the fight, instead of ripping Spanish cedulas, Bonifacio would be tearing up the endo contracts and the wage orders,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

PM together with allied groups Kilos Maralita, Umalab Ka, National Federation of Labor, Aguila (Association of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations) and PUP student group SPEAK assembled its contingents at Blumentritt, Espana early this morning. By 9:00 am, they moved a short distance to Welcome Rotonda to merge with other groups under the labor coalition Nagkaisa. Around 10:00 am, the several-thousand strong rally marched down Espana towards Morayta. There Nagkaisa held a program to issue its “workers’ challenge” to candidates in the coming elections.

PM is calling on Congress to pass the pending Security of Tenure bill that provides for strict regulation against contractualization and aims to make regular jobs the norm in employment relations. Likewise, the group is demanding for a reform of the wage setting mechanism and a return to a national minimum wage instead of the present regional wages.

Magtubo asserted that “Duterte promised to abolish endo the moment he becomes president. In a dialogue with labor groups, he also said that ‘provincial rates’ must be eliminated. Three years into his term, these remain broken promises. Instead of focusing on people’s concerns like wages, jobs and inflation, his administration aims to capture the Senate so it can railroad the shift to federalism through charter change even as it continues the bloody war on drugs and prepares to start a new, bloodier war against communist rebels.”

PM is participating in the coming elections for the partylist. The demand to end endo and abolish the regional wage boards are part of its platform of “Apat na Dapat.” The other demands include provision of decent housing for the poor, subsidy for sustainable agriculture by farmers, and social services for women and youth.

November 30, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Media Advisory: For Bonifacio Day, labor partylist to demand abolition of endo and wage boards

Media Advisory
November 30, 2018

Partido Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09452182693

Labor partylist to demand abolition of endo and wage boards on Bonifacio Day rally today

What: Bonifacio Day workers rally led by labor partylist group Partido Manggagawa and allied groups Kilos Maralita, Umalab Ka, National Federation of Labor and Aguila (Association of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations)

When: Today, November 30
              Assembly at 8:00 am
              March to Welcome Rotonda at 9:00 am
              March to Morayta @ 10:00 am

Where: Assembly Petron gas station at Blumentritt Espana

Tuesday, November 20, 2018





WHEN                          November 21, 2018 Wednesday | 09:00AM – 12:00PM
WHERE                        Chinese Embassy
                                    330 Gil Puyat, Makati

PARTICIPANTS         Indigenous Peoples in South Sierra Madre (General Nakar, Quezon and Tanay, Rizal)

                                    Local Federations of Indigenous People’s Organizations
National organizations
·       Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
·       Save Sierra Madre Network
·       Koalisyon Laban sa Centennial Dam
·       Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa

Indigenous peoples and other support groups strongly oppose the signing of the bilateral loan agreement to fund the Kaliwa Dam Project, one of the major infrastructure projects under the “build, build, build” program of Duterte’s administration.
The scheduled signing of contract between President Duterte and China President Xi Jinping manifests the manipulative motives of China and Duterte’s ignorance to the concerns and pleas of the affected stakeholders.

ORGANIZERS  Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), SUKATAN, SAGIBIN-LN, Save Sierra Madre Network, Koalisyon Laban sa Centennial Dam, Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa

 Melissa Alamo