Labor groups under the umbrella of Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (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.