Monday, November 16, 2015

Workers most affected but the richest 1% got all of APEC gains

People walk to Baclaran from NAIA Road (MB Photo by Ali Vicoy)
Lost income, travel ban, road closures and clamp down on protests are all that workers will get this week while APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) VIPs and delegates travel in comfort, ensured of total security, and their agenda heard and advanced during high level meetings.
According to the partylist group Partido Manggagaw (PM), this contrast is a mere continuity of the sharp divide that characterizes APEC history – “workers doing the great sacrifice while APEC leaders and the capitalist class take control of enormous wealth and appropriating it among themselves and the region’s 1%.”
Members of Partido Manggagawa and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) have a scheduled protest against the scourge of contractualization along the Airport Road and Roxas boulevard tomorrow but the total shutdown of the area is preventing many participants, including those coming from Cavite, from linking in.
“APEC will neither pay for workers’s lost wages nor care about their lost hours in traffic.  APEC also won’t bother curtailing workers’ rights to protest. These are all because APEC is all for business, its agenda is all about free trade and free market,” stated PM chair Renato Magtubo.
Magtubo said that for almost three decades, APEC was nothing but an exclusive gathering of business leaders whose agenda for trade and investments are guaranteed by aligning governments’ legal frameworks on economic policies. 
“Workers who created APEC’s USD 31 trillion GDP and facilitated 47% of world trade have never been made part of this Summit.  All of APEC’s agenda come from the top CEOs under the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC),” said Magtubo.
According to PM, part of APEC policies that have been pushed by business is labor flexibilization that takes a major form in outsourcing/contractualization programs.  “PAL’s outsourcing program is hailed by its bosses, as well as the Philippine President, as ‘global best practice’, indicating a major shift in the country’s industrial relation,” added Magtubo.
“Worldwide labor contractualization has become a plague – a policy that killed trade unionism, destroyed workers’ security of tenure, depressed wages, killed small and medium businesses, and driven millions of workers to unemployment and precarious working conditions in the informal economy,” explained Magtubo.
With a population of 2.8 billion people, the APEC economies are also home to the most number of billionaires, while some 750 million poor people live on less than USD 1.25 a day.

The Asian Development Bank has in fact noted that Asia’s rising inequality has denied the benefits of growth to many millions of its citizens “as the regions rich get richer much faster than the poor.”

16 November 2015

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