Monday, November 4, 2019

Labor demands tripartite investigation over raids and mass arrests in Bacolod

Photo from Kodao.org
The country’s biggest labor coalition, Nagkaisa!, is demanding a tripartite investigation over the simultaneous raids and mass arrests conducted by security forces Thursday night against members of militant labor and women groups in Bacolod City to protect workers’ right to self organization. 

“We won’t let this assault on freedom pass without demanding accountability from authorities who ordered these Gestapo-style raids. We also want to send notice to the government that labor organizations in the country are jointly opposed to this kind of highhanded approach in dealing with legitimate sectoral organizations,”said Nagkaisa! in a statement sent to media. 

Some 57 people were arrested during the simultaneous raids conducted by a joint military and police forces against the Kilusang Mayor Uno, National Federation of Sugar Workers and Gabriela offices in the cities of Bacolod and Escalante in Negros last Thursday night. Cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against those who were arrested, a charge vehemently denied by said groups. 

Nagkaisa! is pointing out that while the raids and mass arrests were carried out by virtue of a search warrant issued in Quezon City, it believes that this legality is eclipsed by the repressive character attending it which is common only under authoritarian rule.

The least that could have been done by security forces, the group said is to coordinate with labor department under the spirit of the Guideline on the conduct of the DOLE, DILG, DND, DOJ, AFP and PNP relative to the exercise of Workers’ Right and Activity.

“We envisage further that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Its chilling effect was obvious as they happen at a time the democratic spaces in the country were shrinking fast, including, among others, the systematic repression of trade union rights and the employment of violence against trade union organizers. We therefore demand a stop to the institutionalization of these draconian measures,” stated Nagkaisa! 

Labor groups were deeply concerned that the labor department’s ineffective response against trade union killings and red-tagging has emboldened our security forces to step up its brazen campaign against organized labor. 

“Thus we urge Secretary Silvestre Bello to step in, form a tripartite body and remind the military and security forces that DOLE has the prerogative in dealing with organized labor,” Nagkaisa said. 
Nagkaisa! is also urging the government to invite the ILO High Level Mission to visit the country the soonest time possible. 

The group finally reminded the government that the labor movement will always come to the defence of freedom and human rights as it values the union principle ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’. 

“An assault against a part of the labor movement, therefore, is an attack against the whole movement,” concluded Nagkaisa!

03 November 2019 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Cavite garments workers to spend Undas at the picketline



Workers of a garments factory in the First Cavite Industrial Estate in Dasmarinas, Cavite will be spending undas at the picketlines instead of the graves of their departed love ones. The dispute between workers and management of Sejung Apparel Inc. is on its third week.

A hearing at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board ended last Wednesday without any agreement between the union and management. The union is demanding the reopening of the factory and the return to work of all employees.

The workers started their picket protest last October 14 after management locked out them out. The lockout happened just a week after the union submitted a proposal for a collective bargaining agreement.

“This is not the first time and unfortunately not the last time that a recently unionized factory suddenly closed down. This is the action of last resort by management in order to bust and avoid unions. We have seen this happen with the Faremo garments factory at the Cavite Economic Zone in 2016 and the Cebu Nisico electronics firm at the Mactan Economic Zone in 2017,” stated Rene Magtubo, national chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

Josephine Odchimar, union president, lamented that the freedom to unionize are dead in the ecozones. Tonight, workers staying at the picketline plan to light candles in memory of their dead family members but also in protest at the death of labor rights in the country.

Odchimar vowed that the union will continue the picket protest until workers are allowed back to work. She also called on the administration of the First Cavite Industrial Estate to respect the right of workers to protest in compliance with the DOLE-PEZA-PNP guidelines of 2011 and 2012. These guidelines on the right of workers to protest and strike in the ecozones were enacted in the wake of a high level mission by the ILO in 2009.

PM has been assisting export zone workers in Cavite and Cebu in their bid to improve wages and working conditions. “We call on the DOLE and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to intervene as this is a clear case of violation of the freedom of association (FOA). While the dialogue between labor groups, DOLE and PEZA about ensuring respect for freedom of association has been much delayed, union busting complaints like that in Sejung are happening with no action from government institutions. This is among the reasons the International Labour Organization last June resolved to investigate the government’s enforcement of Conventions 87 and 98 about freedom of association and collective bargaining respectively,” Magtubo explained. ###



November 1, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Picketline at Cavite ecozone enters its second week as disputes rise



A labor dispute in a garments factory in the First Cavite Industrial Estate in Dasmarinas, Cavite entered its second week with no clear resolution in sight. A hearing at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board last Monday ended without any agreement between the union and management of Sejung Apparel Inc.

Industrial relations analysts and even Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) officials have noted a rise in labor disputes. This year 162 notices of strikes have been filed and 13 have matured into actual strikes. Many of the disputes are due to demands for regularization.

Even the union formed at Sejung garments was partly motivated by grievances of contractualization as many workers were hired as temporary employees for years without being regularized. The DOLE inspected the factory last May due to complaints about endo and benefits.

But the immediate cause of the pending labor dispute at Sejung was the lockout by management. In August, workers voted to be represented by a union. Two weeks ago, the union submitted a proposal for a collective bargaining agreement. After just a week, the company suddenly declared a temporary closure allegedly for lack of orders. Workers however contend that there was pending order that was abruptly stopped by the management. Thus the union filed for a notice of strike due to union busting.

“This is not the first time and unfortunately not the last time that a recently unionized factory suddenly closed down. This is the action of last resort by management in order to bust and avoid unions. We have seen this happen with the Faremo garments factory at the Cavite Economic Zone in 2016 and the Cebu Nisico electronics firm at the Mactan Economic Zone in 2017,” stated Rene Magtubo, national chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

PM has been assisting export zone workers in Cavite and Cebu in their bid to improve wages and working conditions. “We call on the DOLE and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to intervene as this is a clear case of violation of the freedom of association (FOA). While the dialogue between labor groups, DOLE and PEZA about ensuring respect for freedom of association has been much delayed, union busting complaints like that in Sejung are happening with no action from government institutions. This is among the reasons the International Labour Organization last June resolved to investigate the government’s enforcement of Conventions 87 and 98 about freedom of association and collective bargaining respectively,” Magtubo explained.

23 October 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Workers will continue fighting for democracy and human rights

Image result for martial law image

Authoritarianism and liberal democracy are two distinct form of governance, yet workers under both circumstances suffer different degrees of human rights violations. Democracy and human rights, in other words, are permanent demands and agenda that workers will be fighting for in either condition of elite governance. 

We remember how workers and their trade unions were supressed during the dark days of martial law, 47 years ago today. But it is also important to recall the resistance and heroism the workers’ movement played during those turbulent years until the end of the Marcos dictatorship. Then the struggles that never stopped even under the post-martial law/post-Edsa regimes. 

Today, therefore, is also a good day to ask: When will workers stop fighting for those agenda?  
Workers did fight before because democracy was lacking and state violence was an everyday bill. We fight today because democracy was still wanting while chronic poverty and inequality remain. 

Accordingly, workers will be fighting any plan by the administration to bring back martial law or re-establish dictatorship, alongside with the campaigns for job security, living wage, freedom of association, and deeper political reforms. And we are aware of the fact that winning these agenda is more difficult under the Duterte regime where the struggle for labor and human rights are taken as rebellion initiated by state enemies. 

There are reasons to worry about the dangers faced by human rights defenders (HRDs) in this country today, including those who are involved in trade union organizing. Several trade union organizers have already been killed in EJK manner of executions. There is also an on-going red-tagging of unions being undertaken by the military nationwide, most especially in hot spot areas like EPZA’s and mining communities. Several picket lines have also been dispersed violently by combined private and state security forces in the last three years.   

Today we join the human rights community led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights (I-Defend) in demanding #StopTheAssault against HRDs and the Filipino people. 

We condemn, in strongest terms, acts of state violence in the same way as we reject and demand the scrapping of official policies like red-tagging of trade unions and other HRDs working for the realization of a life of dignity and human rights for all.

21 September 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ATM fees, other charges must be cheaper under the regime of automation – labor group


The workers’ group Partido Manggagawa (PM) won’t let the bad idea of higher ATM fees die down despite assurances made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that they will oppose the banks’ plan to increase their ATM charges.

“Truth must be revealed by the banks on this issue: That the more the system is becoming smart and efficient, which is what automation achieves, the more the services become widely available and cheaper, if not free. The banks’ plan to impose higher fees on ATM transactions and other charges simply violates the economics of automation,” asserted PM Chair Rene Magtubo.

The group argues that under the regime of Industry 4.0 or automation, robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and other smart machines displace humans in the workplace to achieve more economy and productivity. In the case of banks, human tellers were replaced by ATMs and AI, thus, labor costs were saved. 

“So where has the economics of automation gone under this scenario? Truth is, after human tellers were robbed of their jobs, these banks were planning to rob their depositors more to depreciate the robots and to compensate their CEOs. This is corporate greed, plain and simple,” lamented Magtubo.

The planned hike will affect approximately 6 to 8 per cent of minimum wage in NCR and Calabarzon areas, according to PM.

The groups argues further that much of these ATMs must have already been depreciated over time since it was utilized by the banking system and therefore the cost of capital recovery must be very minimal at this point in time.  Other than cost of capex, operations and maintenance the group said, the planned hike is for greed if not outright highway robbery.

15 August 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Labor group slams ATM fee hike

 Image result for atm image



The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) declared its opposition to the planned increase in ATM fees. “Charging P15 per withdrawal is already burdensome. Doubling the fee would be onerous on workers receiving their wages through payroll ATM accounts,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He explained that “P15 is almost 3% of the daily minimum wage in NCR. Worse it is around 4% of the daily of a minimum wage earner in the Cavite economic zone. Doubling the ATM fee would mean banks taking 6 to 8% of the minimum wage of workers per withdrawal. This is highway robbery.”

The group called on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to use its regulatory power to freeze once more any ATM fee hikes. PM also supported the congressional inquiry on the issue.

“We call on the bankers to moderate their greed. Unlike workers’ wages, banks’ profits are higher by 26% compared to last year,” Magtubo opined.

He reminded the banks that workers are forced to withdraw from ATM’s since salaries are now commonly received through payroll accounts. “It is no fault of the workers that they have to transact through ATM’s. And of course, the most convenient way is to access your account is from the nearest ATM which is not necessarily one from their payroll bank. Workers would not want to waste time and fare by going to their own bank’s ATM if is one or several rides away.”

August 13, 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

Black Monday protest by workers vs Duterte veto of SOT bill


Litrato ni Partido Manggagawa.

Workers are launching protests today in Manila and Cebu in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the Security of Tenure bill last Friday, on the eve of its lapse into law. The noise barrage today is also the start of labor’s renewed campaign for a strong law to strictly regulate the rampant practice of contractualization.

“The Security of Tenure bill is the latest victim of killing under the Duterte regime. Workers vow to continue the fight to end endo,” declared Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

PM and other labor groups such as Sentro ng Progresibo at Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO) and Alliance of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations (AGUILA) will launch this afternoon a noise barrage dubbed “Black Monday Protest.” In Metro Manila, the protest is at 5:00 pm at the Boy Scout Circle. While in Metro Cebu, the noise barrage is also at 5:00 pm at Gate 1 of the Mactan Economic Zone in Lapu-Lapu City. Protesters will wear black to symbolize the death of the SOT bill.

The groups also preparing to lobby the new Congress for a new and stronger version of the Security of Tenure bill. “Workers want a law that will ensure regular jobs is the norm in employment relations. We do not accept Duterte’s excuse that employers can outsource jobs even if it is directly related and necessary to its business. That simply opens the floodgates to the abusive system of contractualization that is happening today,” Fortaleza argued.

“Workers will not forget this betrayal by Duterte of his promise to end endo. Three months into his administration, Duterte forcefully warned employers that he will kill them for continuing with the practice of endo. But now three years into his term, he is parroting the lame capitalist alibi that businesses will die if workers are made regular. Duterte’s promise to end endo is dead,” Fortaleza asserted.

He added that “In the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization, Duterte has revealed that he is an enemy of the working class and the CEO of the capitalist class.”

July 29, 2019

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Black Monday protest today vs Duterte veto of SOT bill

Media Advisory
July 29, 2019
Partido Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09452182693 

Black Monday protest vs Duterte veto of SOT bill

What: Noise barrage vs veto of security of tenure bill

When: Today, July 29, 5:00 pm

Where: Boy Scout Circle, Quezon Circle

Details:

Members of labor groups such as PM, Sentro ng Progresibo at Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO) and Alliance of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations (AGUILA) will lead the Black Monday protest in Metro Manila. Protesters will wear black to symbolize the death of the SOT bill. The parallel activity in Metro Cebu will be at Gate 1 of the Mactan Economiz Zone, Lapu-Lapu City at the same time.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Workers to hold protests & lobby for a stronger law vs endo

LABOR PROTEST. Trade union workers belonging to the Nagkaisa Coalition hold a protest in Mendiola, Manila on Labor Day, May 1, 2019, calling for an end to contractualization. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler
Photo from Rappler



In the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the Security of Tenure bill, workers will hold initial protests on Monday in Manila and Cebu. “The Security of Tenure bill is the latest victim of killing under the Duterte regime. Workers vow to continue the fight to end endo,” declared Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

PM and other labor groups such as Sentro will launch a noise barrage dubbed “Black Monday Protest” on July 29. In Metro Manila, the protest is at 5:00 pm at the Boy Scout Circle. While in Metro Cebu, the noise barrage is also at 5:00 pm at Gate 1 of the Mactan Economic Zone in Lapu-Lapu City.

The groups also preparing to lobby the new Congress for a new and stronger version of the Security of Tenure bill. “Workers want a law that will ensure regular jobs is the norm in employment relations. We do not accept the excuse that employers can outsource jobs even if it is directly related and necessary to its business. That simply opens the floodgates to the abusive system of contractualization that is happening today,” Fortaleza argued.

“Workers will not forget this betrayal by Duterte of his promise to end endo. Three months into his administration, Duterte forcefully warned employers that he will kill them for continuing with the practice of endo. But now three years into his term, he is parroting the lame capitalist alibi that businesses will die if workers are made regular. Duterte’s promise to end endo is dead,” Fortaleza asserted.

He added that “In the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization, Duterte has revealed that he is an enemy of the working class and the CEO of the capitalist class.” 

July 27, 2019

Friday, July 26, 2019

Workers slam killing of SOT bill

Image result for duterte vetoes
Photo from ABS-CBN

The ‘ifs and buts’ on the anti-endo bill are over. After an overnight flip-flop on whether a presidential veto is coming out or not, the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill has finally found its death today inside the Palace.

“We didn’t expect that even a weak version of an SOT bill will suffer judicial killing from the President,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

Magtubo said that between labor’s demand to end endo and the employers’ call to veto it, President Duterte has clearly surrendered to the capitalist blackmail.

He reminded the President that, three months into his administration, he forcefully warned employers that he will kill them for continuing with the practice of endo.

“Now that he is three years into his term, he has completely made a U-turn by singing the capitalist chorus that businesses will die if workers are made regular. Duterte’s promise to end endo is dead,” said Magtubo.

The veto’s message, the labor leader said, was very clear on its intent: “That the President wanted to maintain the country’s exploitative yet competitive status quo - our being a republic of endo.”

The labour group argued that: “Without a stronger anti-endo law, all type of work in the country is now candidate for all type of contractual employment arrangements. Businesses may grow out of this exploitative model, which NEDA, DoF, DTI and DOLE truly believe, but not the living standard of workers which is what social justice wanted to achieve.”

The death of anti-endo bill, however, won’t stop the struggle of workers against the epidemic of contractualization until the last three years of the Duterte administration.

“Hangga’t buhay ang endo, tuloy ang laban!,” concluded Magtubo.

26 July 2019

Duterte plans to cripple if not kill SOT bill

Palace: Judge Duterte not by his words, but by his deeds
Inquirer photo


In the face of the flip-flop over the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed the plan to either “tweak” or “veto” the proposal that will lapse into law tomorrow.

“Not satisfied with an already watered-down SOT bill, Malacanang wants to cripple if not kill it. Between labor’s demand to end endo and the employers’ call to veto it, President Duterte seems bent on surrendering to the capitalist blackmail,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “We wish to remind the President that three months into his administration he forcefully warned employers that he will kill them for continuing with the practice of endo. Now that he is three years into his term, he has changed his tune by repeating the capitalist chorus that businesses will die if workers are made regular. Duterte’s promise to end endo is dead.”

The group also challenged Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo to resign from his post and stop confusing the public. “If Panelo was a contractual worker, he would have been terminated for all his bloopers. But such is the double standard of life. Public officials can laugh off their mistakes while endo workers suffer from job insecurity,” asserted Magtubo.

PM is asking Malacanang to explain the truth behind the copy of the veto. “What is the status of the veto of the SOT bill that is already signed by the President and validated by a barcode of Malacanang? Is this a Damocles sword for the workers to accept a mangled SOT bill in return for not it being vetoed?,” Magtubo asked.

26 July 2019

Monday, July 22, 2019

Workers vow to fight chacha at counter-SONA rally




At the top of issues to be raised by workers at the counter-SONA rally today is the opposition to charter change. “Chicha hindi chacha. The government must attend to the problem of hunger and poverty instead of term extension and foreign ownership which are the agenda of charter change,” declared Rene Magtubo, chair of the group Partido Manggagawa (PM).

PM is participating in the coalition United Workers SONA which will mobilize this afternoon. The United Workers SONA coalition will then join up with other broad networks for the United People’s SONA.

The group is also joining the rally by human rights group at the Quezon City Hall by 10:30 am to cry justice for the victims of extra-judicial killings and also demand action on the death of Cavite labor organizer Dennis Sequena.

In Cebu, PM is joining a broad coalition of groups Sentro, Kalipunan and Bayan for a rally that will echo the demands of the United People’s SONA at Commonwealth. The counter-SONA in Cebu City will be at Colon St. by 9:00 am.

Magtubo averred that that “Duterte may repeat in the SONA the unsubstantiated claim by the Labor Department that 500,000 workers have been regularized. Where is the evidence and particulars? The truth is that companies such as PLDT and Philippine Airlines have appealed in the courts the orders to regularize thousands of agency workers. The Philippines is still a Republic of Endo, a Province of China and a puppet of the US.”

He added that “Up to now, President Duterte has not signed the SOT bill due to the powerful lobby of employers for a veto. Should President Duterte surrender to the demand to veto the bill, then he reveals where he stands on the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization. A presidential veto will just be another betrayal of his promise to workers. But even if the Security of Tenure bill is signed or lapses into law, endo will persist since the legislation is a watered-down version.” Thus the group averred that among workers demands for the SONA mobilization is a stronger law to stamp out contractualization.

In the counter-SONA rally, aside from pushing for an end to endo, workers are also clamoring for a reform of the wage-setting mechanism.

“We welcome the announcement by the Department of Labor and Employment that it will undertake a study on the current wage system in response to the calls to abolish the regional wage boards. Although we fear that powerful lobby by employers will once more scuttle any real reform,” asserted Magtubo.

PM is batting for the abolition of the regional wage boards and its replacement by a National Wage Commission which will fix a national minimum wage based on the cost of living. The group is also calling for the provision of a minimum basic income for workers in the SME sector which is unregulated and exempted from the minimum wage setting.

July 22, 2019

Sunday, July 21, 2019

“We are still a Republic of Endo under Duterte”—labor group




On the eve of the SONA, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) declared that “After three years of Duterte, we are a Republic of Endo, a Province of China and a puppet of the US.”

PM is participating in the coalition United Workers SONA which will mobilize on tomorrow afternoon. The United Workers SONA coalition will then join up with other broad networks for the United People’s SONA.

“We believe that the reason President Duterte has not signed the SOT bill up to now is the strong lobby of employers for a veto. Should President Duterte surrender to the demand to veto the bill, then he reveals where he stands on the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization. A presidential veto will just be another betrayal of his promise to workers,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “But even if the Security of Tenure bill is signed or lapses into law, endo will persist since the legislation is a watered-down version.” Thus the group averred that among workers demands for the forthcoming SONA mobilization is a stronger law to stamp out contractualization.

“Contrary to the wild claim of employers that the security of tenure bill is superfluous because endo has already been ended with DO 173 and EO 51, numerous loopholes allow the proliferation of contractual workers. The security of tenure bill will not end endo and will not stop contractualization because it is a weak version of the proposed law,” Magtubo averred.

In the counter-SONA rally, aside from pushing for an end to endo, workers are also clamoring for a reform of the wage-setting mechanism.

“We welcome the announcement by the Department of Labor and Employment that it will undertake a study on the current wage system in response to the calls to abolish the regional wage boards. Although we fear that powerful lobby by employers will once more scuttle any real reform,” asserted Magtubo.

PM is batting for the abolition of the regional wage boards and its replacement by a National Wage Commission which will fix a national minimum wage based on the cost of living. The group is also calling for the provision of a minimum basic income for workers in the SME sector which is unregulated and exempted from the minimum wage setting.

21 July 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

Despite SOT bill, endo persists under Duterte

 



The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) stated today that even if the Security of Tenure bill lapses into law, endo will persist since the legislation is a “watered-down version.” Thus the group averred that among workers demands for the forthcoming SONA mobilization is a strong law to stamp out contractualization.

“Three years after President Duterte promised to abolish contractualization, we are a Republic of Endo, a Province of China and also a puppet of the US. Workers are suffering from precarious jobs and low pay while the domestic economy is threatened by influx of Chinese capital and debt,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

PM is participating in the coalition United Workers SONA which will mobilize on Monday afternoon. The United Workers SONA coalition will then join up with other broad networks for the United People’s SONA.

“We believe that the reason President Duterte has not signed the SOT bill up to now is the strong lobby of employers for a veto. Should President Duterte surrender to the demand to veto the bill, then he reveals where he stands on the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization. A presidential veto will just be another betrayal of his promise to workers,” argued Magtubo.

He insisted that “Contrary to the wild claim of employers that the security of tenure bill is superfluous because endo has already been ended with DO 173 and EO 51, numerous loopholes allow the proliferation of contractual workers. The security of tenure bill will not end endo and will not stop contractualization because it is a weak version of the proposed law.”

In the counter-SONA rally, aside from pushing for an end to endo, workers are also clamoring for a reform of the wage-setting mechanism.

“We welcome the announcement by the Department of Labor and Employment that it will undertake a study on the current wage system in response to the calls to abolish the regional wage boards. Although we fear that powerful lobby by employers will once more scuttle any real reform,” asserted Magtubo.

PM is batting for the abolition of the regional wage boards and its replacement by a National Wage Commission which will fix a national minimum wage based on the cost of living. The group is also calling for the provision of a minimum basic income for workers in the SME sector which is unregulated and exempted from the minimum wage setting.

July 19, 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Labor group to Probinsyano rep: Resign or be axed



The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) demanded that Ang Probinsyano partylist representative Alfred de los Santos resign as congressman if he is truly sorry for punching a waiter in Legazpi, Albay. “If de los Santos won’t voluntarily resign then he must be axed by his partylist group or the House Ethics Committee,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “A student who punches his peer is liable to be expelled from school. A worker who hits a customer will definitely be terminated, and will probably be arrested and jailed. But de los Santos is still walking free and engaging in verbal acrobatics to assuage the public outrage.”

“A partylist rep should bravely stand up for labor and take the government to task for the country being named as among the 10 worst countries for workers. Instead we have the sad spectacle of Ang Probinsyano rep de los Santos caught punching an ordinary worker,” Magtubo averred.

He furthered that “The partylist system has been well and truly been bastardized. On the one hand, we have a partylist rep who attacks and abuses a lowly worker. On the other hand, the richest House representative is a partylist congressman.” Magtubo was a factory worker when he was a pioneer partylist rep back in 1998.

“Obviously the partylist system has to be overhauled if it is to be true to the Constitutional mandate that it be a mechanism to give representation and voice to the marginalized. Unfortunately it is too much to ask of the present Congress which is packed by trapos to reform the broken partylist and electoral system,” Magtubo ended. 

July 12, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Workers picket DOLE to demand investigation of union organizer killing



Members of the group Partido Manggagawa (PM) picketed this morning the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to demand that the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) be convened to investigate the killing of a union organizer in Cavite. The mass action coincides with the 40th day since the brutal shooting of Dennis Sequeña, vice chair of the PM-Cavite chapter and veteran union organizer.

“We condemn the glaring inaction and chilling silence of the DOLE on the killing of our colleague Dennis. Today marks 40 days since his murder, and the relevant government agencies have so far failed to make any headway in the investigation of the case,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

The NTIPC, sitting as the National Tripartite Monitoring Body (NTMB), is tasked to investigate complaints of labor-related extra-judicial killings. The NTMB was formed in response to the recommendations of a high level mission by the International Labor Organization in 2009.

The mass action today over the murder of Sequeña comes in the wake of the Philippines being named among the ten worse countries for workers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the global body of organized labor, has once again listed the country for systematic violations of labor rights.

Sequeña was killed in broad daylight by a gunman in the middle of a meeting with ecozone workers last June 2. Local and international labor groups, including the labor coalition Nagkaisa and the ITUC, condemned the murder, called on the DOLE to stop the killings of unionists and investigate these cases.

“It is sad and frustrating to note that such basic acts of workers self-organization, protected no less by our Constitution and several international conventions and treaties, come at the price of the lives of countless labor organizers and rights defenders. Dennis’ murder and the appalling state of worker’s rights in ecozones simply confirm the report by the ITUC that the Philippines is among the ten most dangerous countries for unionists,” Magtubo explained.

PM also demanded that the DOLE enforce laws guaranteeing the freedom of association in ecozones in light of rampant management interference and intimidation against workers exercising their constitutional and human rights. Sequeña was actively assisting three unions at the time of his killing. This month several unions in the ecozones of Cavite are due to undergo certification elections but organizers are alleging that workers are “challenged by adversity and harassment by management.”

July 11, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Advisory: Picket tom vs DOLE inaction over killing of Cavite union organizer

Media Advisory
July 10, 2019
Partido Manggagawa
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09228677522

DOLE picket re inaction over killing of Cavite union organizer

WHAT: Picket by workers over silence and inaction of DOLE on killings

WHEN: Tomorrow, July 11, 2019; 10:00 am

WHERE: DOLE main office, Intramuros

DETAILS:

On the occasion of the 40th day of the death of union organizer Dennis Sequena, scores of members of Partido Manggagawa including workers from Cavite will picket the DOLE main office tomorrow. The group is criticizing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello for his silence and inaction on the killing of Sequena. Local and international groups have called on the DOLE, without success, for a statement condemning the brutal murder of Sequena and the convening of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council to investigate.

PM is also demanding that DOLE enforce laws guaranteeing freedom of association at the ecozones in the light of rampant management interference. Five unions which Sequena was actively assisting just had certification elections last month or are due to face elections this month. For the third year running, the Philippines was on the list of 10 worst countries for workers due to systematic suppression of the labor rights. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Labor group slams employers for end endo veto



The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed employers for its call that President Rodrigo Duterte veto the security of tenure bill. “The demand of employers’ groups for a veto of the security of tenure bill exposes the raw greed of the capitalist class and their wanton desire to maintain the abusive system of contractualization. As it stands now, the security of tenure bill is already watered down but capitalists are not satisfied and want it totally killed,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

“Should President Duterte surrender to the demand to veto the bill, then he reveals where he stands on the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization. It has been three years since Duterte promised to abolish contractualization but millions of workers continue to suffer from this abusive scheme. A presidential veto will just be another betrayal of his promise to workers,” argued Magtubo.

Workers are set to continue pushing for a strong security of tenure law with the opening of Congress on July 22. Various labor groups are in talks for a coordinated march on the occasion of the SONA.

Magtubo stated that “Contrary to the wild claim of employers that the security of tenure bill is superfluous because endo has already been ended with DO 173 and EO 51, numerous loopholes allow the proliferation of contractual workers everywhere. The security of tenure bill will not end endo and will not stop contractualization because it is a weak version of the proposed law.”

The security of tenure bill passed by Congress is the version drafted by the Senate. Labor groups such as the labor coalition Nagkaisa pushed for the stronger version of the security of tenure bill which was passed by the House of Representatives.

“The differences between the Senate and House drafts of the bill should have been ironed out by a bicameral conference committee but magically the weak version was adopted in toto by Congress. The culprit for watering down the security of tenure bill was lobby by the Department of Finance and maneuvering by pro-capitalist senators,” explained Magtubo.

July 5, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

Company meddling in union elections slammed



The group Partido Manggagawa slammed the meddling of management in a union election held yesterday at the garments factory Dong Seung Inc. in the Cavite Economic Zone.

“Management blatantly interfered in the conduct of the elections in violation of the rules guaranteeing workers’ freedom of association. The company lawyer prevented representatives of the union legal counsel to enter the factory and observe the conduct of the election. For the duration of the election, no union legal representatives were in polling area thus putting the results of election in doubt,” stated Rene Magtubo, chair of PM.

Slain labor organizer Dennis Sequena had assisted workers of Dong Seung in organizing a union. Sequena was killed last June 2 in Tanza, Cavite while conducting a labor rights seminar for workers in the Cavite ecozone.

PM called on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to guarantee the sanctity of union elections and promote freedom of association in the ecozones in view of such gross violations and management interference.  Another certification election is being held today at another garments factory in the Cavite ecozone. Magtubo reminded the DOLE that the country has again been cited at the International Labor Organization annual conference this month for complaints of violations of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“Meddling by the company lawyer of Dong Seung started well before the actual certification election. During the pre-election proceedings, the company lawyer opposed the participation of any legal counsels except for the employer. The employer was given the privilege of pollwatchers in violation of the bystander rule,” Magtubo averred.

He added that “The company lawyer demanded that two union officers can only be allowed to vote if they undermine their pending case at the National Labor Relations Commission by declaring that their complaint is not true. Is this not a clear case of blackmail? He also pushed for the inclusion of 112 voters in violation of the rule providing that employees regularized after the three-months prior are excluded. The company lawyer finally insisted that campaigning and distribution of sample ballots are prohibited!”

“Unfortunately the election officer from the DOLE provincial office—in a clear act of omission—allowed all of this flagrant management interference despite his power to administer the conduct of the certification election. The rules provide that management is only a bystander in a union election since workers’ have freedom of association. Workers do not interfere when investors and stockholders vote for the company board of directors. So why should employers meddle in elections among workers?,” Magtubo explained.

June 28, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Funeral/protest march tom for slain Cavite union organizer as more groups call for action on killings



Slain Cavite union organizer, Dennis Sequena, is to be buried tomorrow with his family and colleagues holding a funeral and protest march. International and local labor and human rights groups have called on government for action on his killing.

Sequena, vice chair of the Cavite chapter of Partido Manggagawa (PM) and also a partylist nominee of the group in the last elections, was shot and killed last June 2 while meeting a group of workers.

The funeral march will start tomorrow 9:00 am from the community of Workersville in Brgy. Punta, Tanza where he was killed and end in the Sta. Cruz Memorial Park in the same town. Last Sunday, scores of worker activists and community leaders attended a tribute to Sequena where he was honored as a “hero of epza workers.”

Aside from local workers’ groups like PM, Sentro and the Nagkaisa coalition, international labor and human rights organizations are calling on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to resolve the spate of killings of labor and human rights activists.

The International Trade Union Confederation representing 207 million workers in 163 countries has formally sent a letter to Bello and asked him to convene the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council to investigate the fatal shooting of Sequena. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center and the International Labor Rights Forum also issued statements condemning the killing of Sequena. The two international labor rights both worked with Sequena on issues workers rights of workers in the Cavite ecozone.




June 11, 2019