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


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