November 25, 2010
The country’s biggest labor groups came together once more in the “National Day of Action for Regular Jobs and Against Contractual Employment.” The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA, the Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR), the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) spearheaded the Day of Action.
“This is now a fight that is beyond PALEA. In factories, shops, offices and malls contractual workers are working side-by-side with regular employees in doing the same job for lesser pay and worse working conditions. We demand that government institute reforms to enhance job security and stop contractualization schemes,” argued Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chairperson.
Some 2,000 members of the various labor groups marched along Ayala Ave. by 3:00 pm. The mood was festive with an ati-atihan joining the labor unity march.
PM brought tarpaulins with the message “Kung Walang Kontraktwal, Pilipinas Kay Ganda” and “Kung Trabaho ay Regular, Pilipinas Kay Ganda.” Renato Magtubo, PM chair, explained that “The ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ brand captures our dream of a country where workers enjoy job security, living wages, substantial benefits, decent working conditions and the freedom to have a voice and representation in the workplace through a union.”
The Day of Action started early with a Lakbayan of Calabarzon workers from the United Cavite Workers Association and delegations from Laguna and Batangas. After assembling by 7:00 am in Zapote, the Lakbayan Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon made a stop at Baclaran Church by 10:00 am then proceeded to the assembly area at Makati Fire Station. TUCP joined PALEA, KONTRA, LABOR, CLC and PM at the fire station while KMU linked up at the corner of Paseo and Ayala Ave.
Ramil Cangayao, PM-Cavite chair, said that “The National Day of Action is our way of expressing our position on outsourcing, mergers, layoffs and other forms of corporate restructuring. We hold that management prerogative is not absolute and cannot trample upon workers’ right to job security and the freedom to unionize.”
Protests were also held in Visayas and Mindanao. In Bacolod, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office was picketed by members of PALEA, TUCP, KMU and PM. In General Santos City, PALEA, TUCP, PM and the union of Yellow Bus Lines led the rally at the DOLE. In Cebu City the mass action was held yesterday with a labor unity forum at the ALU Building in the morning and then an afternoon rally at the DOLE office.
The campaign for regular jobs will also be the theme of the Bonifacio Day commemoration with PM, PALEA and the Fortune Tobacco Labor Union to march on Mendiola on November 29.