Friday, October 3, 2014

Filipino workers rally in support of HK unions and protests

Press Release
October 3, 2014

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and other groups in the labor unity coalition Nagkaisa! today held a rally at the consular office of China in Makati in response to a call for international solidarity from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU). PM declared that “Filipino workers extend our solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the HKCTU, the students and the Hong Kong people in the struggle for democracy and equality.”

With the Hong Kong protests gearing for a possible confrontation with the government, Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair, stated that “We appeal to both the HK and Beijing government to stop the use of violence against its own people.  The people’s democratic government which was proclaimed in October 1, 1949, can only be more and never less democratic.  For this reason, arrest and detention as well as the use of teargas in dispersing a massive but peaceful assembly of mostly young people are patently undemocratic.”

The HKCTU had called last week for strikes by workers to complement the boycott by students and the protests in general. A PM statement asserted that "The Hong Kong working class must now join the democracy protests to break the impasse for the students cannot win the struggle on their own. But the HK workers must put the imprint of their class demands on the movement and march under their own banner of social justice and emancipation."

Rivera explained that “We are inspired seeing people – students, teachers, workers, and elderly in collective action against threats to democracy, as we are likewise indignant that this action is met by state violence.”

He added that “When PALEA launched its struggle against outsourcing and contractualization, workers all over the world, including Hong Kong, extended support. Such solidarity helped us sustain the fight until eventual victory. We shouted then that the struggle of PALEA is the struggle of all workers. Now it is time to say that the struggle of HKCTU is the struggle of all workers.”

Rivera also argued that “We are also aware that aside from the demand of democratic reforms, the people were raising the issue of gaping inequality between the business elite and the working class in Hong Kong.  We acknowledge this as a worldwide phenomenon under this capitalist world thus we easily identify with the justness of bringing this call.

PM also expressed readiness to hold more solidarity actions for HK unions and the democracy protests when needed. Rivera averred that they will continue monitoring the development of the protests in Hong Kong and hope that the people’s demands are eventually met.

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