[Press Release] On Labor Day, all roads lead to Mendiola, Frustrated workers to march together on Labor Day -NAGKAISA/KMU

On Labor Day, all roads lead to Mendiola, Frustrated workers to march together on Labor Day

Photo from PM FB

The growing frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction of workers over President Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to fulfill a promise have only bonded workers.

Unable to secure an Executive Order over the past year that would have re-established direct hiring as the norm amidst the proliferation of contractualization, endo and manpower agencies, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno will march as one on Labor Day in a historic first for the Philippine labor movement.

“This year’s commemoration of Labor Day will be different. It will be a national day of solidarity and action of leaders, members, allies and supporters of Nagkaisa and KMU and all citizens who have been frustrated over the injustices committed against workers and the Filipino people and government’s continued inaction and negligence,” said Nagkaisa ang KMU in a joint statement.

KMU and Nagkaisa, who represent the broadest labor coalition since the 80s have called on workers of all shapes and sizes to join hands with them.

“Let’s march arm-in-arm and be part of this growing solidarity. Let’s unite on Labor Day and work together in the days to come,” KMU and Nagkaisa called on workers.

Showing off big pieces of “pako” (nails) to symbolize the “pangakong napako” (broken promise) of President Duterte to end contractualization since the time he wooed voters, the workers’ groups said they have gone out of their way and engaged the President in serious discussions.

“For two years, we participated in labor summits called for by DOLE, dialogued with the President three times, drafted an Executive Order on contractualization, negotiated with him through five drafts–all to no avail,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

“Ang pag-asa, naging paasa” (hope became an empty promise) is how Nagkaisa and KMU described the President’s promise. This, while workers had to endure inadequate wages, and the rising prices of basic commodities as a result of the TRAIN Law despite “unprecedented economic growth.”

Nagkaisa and KMU intend to engage Congress on the issue of contractualization. Unfortunately the chair of the Senate committee, despite the legislative branch’s independence has said that it will act based on the signal of Malacañang. Now that a directive by way of an EO that would declare direct hiring as the norm has been shelved, the Senate might just follow this lead.

“We are utterly frustrated. Despite our desire to continue sitting at the negotiating table and follow reason, the President has decided on retaining business-as-usual, by siding with local and foreign investors who have no respect for security of tenure. He has agreed to the false win-win solution of DTI that encourages manpower agency regularization and not direct hiring with the principal employers,” Nagkaisa and KMU said.

Nagkaisa and KMU reiterate their belief that the President has enough powers put an end to contractualization.

“Tapang at malasakit is what we need to end contractualization. If the president only applied this tag line of his for the benefit of workers,” said KMU and Nagkaisa.

The reported “Tokhang for companies” is viewed by Nagkaisa and KMU as merely made for show by government to compensate for their inadequacies and absence of resolve to end Contractualization once and for all.

“DO 174 has been rendered inutile versus contractualization. Government can crackdown on perpetrators of labor-only contracting employers all it wants, but employers as we have seen, conveniently use DO 174 as an excuse for their misdeeds in appealing orders to regularize workers with the principals,” said KMU and Nagkaisa.

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