April 24, 2009
Members of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) picketed the office of the Makati Business Club to protest the proposal that workers be given commissions instead of wage increases. “This is wholesale theft of the labor of the working class that is little different but much worse than the syndicated estafa perpetrated by Legacy on its middle class planholders,” stated Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.
Some 50 PM members partook of a lunch of rice and tuyo to symbolize the dire plight of the workers during the crisis. They also brought mock pills and capsules with the message “a workers bailout keeps the crisis away.”
Miranda insisted that “The MBC proposal is another example of the attempt by capitalists to exploit the crisis in order to lower labor standards and demolish workers’ rights. Workers will not pay for the crisis sparked by the capitalists. At the root of the global recession is the problem of global underconsumption. There is a lack of demand for the commodities produced worldwide due to two decades of a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. Thus shortchanging the workers in the midst of the crisis will aggravate instead of mitigate the effects of the global recession.”
PM announced that the coming Labor Day mobilization will be “one big protest against capitalist schemes and scams against the workers.” The labor party will lead more than a thousand displaced workers and urban poor in a Lakbayan that will start on the eve of May 1 then merge the next day with the Labor Day rally by various groups.
For Labor Day, PM is pushing for a “bailout of the workers and the poor” that includes unemployment subsidy, tax refund, reform and expansion of public employment program, health insurance for the displaced, and moratorium on demolitions. The group is also demanding a reversal of the policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization.
“The capitalists reject a wage hike because it is a one-size-fits-all formula that favors workers yet a commission is no different though it benefits employers and disadvantages employees. If capitalists are willing to experiment in a win-win solution, we propose a mandatory unionization of all workers and collective bargaining negotiations on the basis of particular conditions of the different industries and enterprises,” explained Miranda.
She asserted that “Through collective bargaining, labor and management can work out the wages and working conditions appropriate to the circumstances of their industries and firms. For example, the electronics industry is collapsing but in dollar-earning sunrise industries like BPO’s and call centers, capitalists can very well afford to give generous wage hikes to their workers via collective bargaining agreements with unions.”