Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rallyists ask DOLE to act on killings of unionists, endo at PAL

In a rally today at the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the labor groups Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) asked the government to act with dispatch on the wave of killings and abductions of unionists, and the pending endo dispute at Philippine Airlines.

The rallyists demanded the intervention by the DOLE on the endo dispute at Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the enforcement of a settlement agreement that provides for the reinstatement of some 600 PALEA members. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the controversial outsourcing program of PAL that resulted in the mass layoff of more than 2,000 regular employees and their transfer as contractual workers in service providers.

“Similar to the task force on media killings formed by the current administration, such a body should be probe the spate of killings and abductions of labor unionists. It is an urgent concern as in this single bloody month of September, two labor leaders were assassinated, six farmers killed and a union officer abducted,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson for PM.

PALEA is calling on the DOLE to administer the implementation by PAL of a settlement agreement forged in 2013 and re-employ some 600 workers terminated in 2011. In September 2011, some 2,600 PAL regular workers were terminated and outsourced to become agency workers. After a two-year fight, PALEA and PAL forged a deal to settle the labor dispute yet some 600 retrenched members have not been re-employed as provided for in the agreement.

Fortaleza added that “The DOLE has a responsibility to stop the culture of impunity that has resulted to the killing and abduction of labor unionists. Forming a task force to probe the attacks on workers and farmers is just a first step. As we have feared, the extra-judicial killings in the wake of the war on drugs has now spilled over into the labor movement. Truly human rights and labor rights are indivisible.”

Last week, Edilberto Miralles, former union president, was gunned down in front of the National Labor Relations Commission. On September 17, Orlando Abangan, a PM leader and organizer in Cebu, was ambushed on his way home. Last Sunday Patricio Tago Jr., a union vice president, was abducted in Tarlac and then imprisoned for allegedly being a drug pusher. Labor groups have called the drug charges as trumped-up.

Besides the latest fatal shooting of a farmer in Palawan, earlier this month, four farmers were shot dead in Nueva Ecija and then a farmer leader killed in Isabela.

September 28, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Advisory: PALEA to picket DOLE today to demand reinstatement of regular workers

WHAT: In the picket, PALEA will challenge the DOLE on stopping endo, and demand the reinstatement of regular workers at Philippine Airlines outsourced five years ago

WHEN:  Today, September 28 (Wednesday), 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: DOLE main office, Intramuros, Manila

DETAILS: As part of the ongoing campaign against contractualization and to challenge the Labor Department on its end endo promise, the union Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) will picket the DOLE main office. The rally is timed for the fifth anniversary of the massive outsourcing that displaced more than 2,000 regular workers at Philippine Airlines and replaced them by contractual workers in service providers.

The renewed actions are spurred on by the promise of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to end endo. Last year, just before Duterte run for president, he met leaders of PALEA in Davao and expressed his opposition to contractualization. PALEA and the militant group Partido Manggagawa are now asking the president elect to make good on his promise to stop contractualization at PAL and other companies.

PALEA is calling on PAL to implement the settlement agreement forged in 2013 and re-employ some 600 workers terminated in 2011. In September 2011, some 2,600 PAL regular workers were terminated and outsourced to become agency workers. After a two-year fight, PALEA and PAL forged a deal to settle the labor dispute of 2011 yet some 600 retrenched members have not been re-employed as provided for in the agreement.

September 28, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PM calls for justice for slain leader, victims of extra-judicial killings on anniversary of martial law:

The militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) today called for a stop to the killings due to the war on drugs and justice for one of their leaders ambushed last Saturday. PM joined the big mobilization of the coalition iDefend (In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity) this afternoon to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

“On the 44th anniversary of martial law, the struggle for human rights and democracy for all remains as relevant and critical as ever. With the war on drugs claiming thousands of lives and a state of lawlessness imposed on the whole country, civil liberties and democratic freedoms are under clear and present danger,” stated Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

He added that “The prevailing climate of impunity that has resulted in wanton killings of alleged drug pushers and addicts has also provided fertile ground for politically motivated slayings. The ambush killing of PM-Cebu leader and organizer, Orlando Abangan a few days ago is testament to this. Abangan’s murder came after the killing of Gloria Capitan, an environmental activist in Bataan, last July 1, on the first official day in office of the Duterte administration. The extra-judicial killings done in the name of the war on drugs have now spilled onto slayings of human rights defenders.”

The iDefend members started assembling at 2:00 pm today in Bustillos Church before marching to Plaza Miranda for a mass and program. At 6:00 pm the iDefend marchers lighted candles to commemorate the victims of martial law, the war on drugs and political killings of human rights defenders like Abangan and Capitan.

Also in Cebu today, PM and other militant and human rights groups held a rally to call for justice for Abangan and Capitan. They marched around downtown colon this afternoon to call for a stop to the killings and to never forget the terror of martial law.

“We call on the authorities for a swift but thorough investigation of the killing of Ka Lando Abangan. We know that they are already pursuing leads that point to certain suspects. Still we urge them not to stop at the arresting suspected gunman but to probe who the mastermind is. Ka Lando is not involved in drugs and is respected in his community as an activist, so we believe that his killing is politically motivated and is related to his work as a human rights defender of urban poor and workers,” explained Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.

Derige also revealed that five days before Abangan was shot to death, he escaped a first attempt on his life. He recalled that several armed men riding motorcycles came looking for Abangan in a place where he frequently hangs out.

September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

'Sampolan ang endo lords," labor and church groups demand

A test of sincerity to the government’s anti-endo campaign was launched today through caravan by an alliance of labor and church groups promoting dignity of labor and decent work.  Several members of labor coalition Nagkaisa also joined the caravan.
In a statement, the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) said, “a progressive version of ‘tokhang’ befits the country’s labor relations environment where power imbalance between workers and employers is so pronounced.”
Yelling ‘sampol!’ in a picket held in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) building in Intramuros Manila, CLC members demanded, as a test of guts, immediate action on pending cases related to contractualization effected by the country’s richest and biggest endo lords. 
A particular case was the 2011 massive outsourcing program that resulted in the loss of 2,400 regular jobs at the Philippine Airlines (PAL).  The two-year dispute ended with a Settlement Agreement in 2014 between PAL and PALEA.  Under the Agreement, PAL will re-hire as regular workers PALEA members who were locked out by the company in October 1, 2011.  Said provision of the Agreement has yet to be implemented by PAL.
“Sec. Bello: Kailan ba ang hustisya namin sa endo lord na ito?” read a poster with a smiling picture of Lucio Tan held by a PALEA member.  Lucio Tan presided over the mass layoff of PAL employees in 1998 and the outsourcing program in 2011. 
Aside from PAL, CLC and Nagkaisa members have also raised the issue of contractualization in companies owned by the richest businessmen such as Henry Sy, Gokongwei and the Araneta family who’s Pizza Hut was recently involved in mass termination of its sub-contracted employees.
After the kick-off protest at DOLE, the CLC-Nagkaisa caravan proceeded to the PAL Office at Macapagal Avenue where they held a program until lunch time.  Their next destination was the Senate where a hearing was supposed to be held the following day but which was moved to a later date. 
In the Senate, Partido Manggagawa (PM) and CLC co-chair Renato Magtubo urged the senators to pass the security of tenure (SOT) bills despite their non- inclusion in Malacanang’s priority legislative agenda.
“As independent policymakers you can move beyond the Palace’s pre-occupation to crime by enacting more coherent anti-poverty and social justice measures such as the SOT and pay hikes,” said Magtubo. 
He also warned lawmakers not to fall into the trap of the proposed “win-win” solution proclaimed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which promotes, rather than prohibits, contractualization through a more devious scheme of outsourcing. 
From the Senate, the protesters drove towards the airport area to hold their final program, first at PAL’s In-Flight Center in Terminal 2 and at Gokongwei’s Cebu Pacific in Terminal 4.  A candle-lighting at Nichols concluded the anti-endo caravan.

September 19, 2016