Workers initiated the series of protests today commemorating the anniversary of the declaration of martial law at the DOLE, denouncing intensified repression and violence by both capitalists and the government.
Led by the socialist political center, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), workers from Cosmic Enterprises Inc., Zagu Foods, Megacem, Pacific Plaza Towers, and Bestank raised their local issues on unenforced compliance orders for regularization, violent dispersals of picket lines, and the active prevention of the DOLE of the constitutional right of unions to strike.
BMP President Luke Espiritu stated “martial law may have officially ended decades ago, but the conditions of Filipino workers do not reflect this fact. Rampant contractualization, depressed wages, widespread violations of the right to organize, and the violence against workers committed by both capitalists and state agents show that for the working class, martial law has persisted.
Among the unions that mobilized in front of the DOLE were Zagu Foods and Pacific Plaza Towers, whose strikes suffered the oppression that Espiritu underlined. Last August 2019, despite the legality of their strike, the Pacific Plaza United Action of Labor’s (PUNYAL-SUPER) picket line was violently dispersed by Bonifacio Global City Marshalls and the PNP. The Organization of Zagu Workers (ORGANIZA-SUPER) was attacked by Zagu security guards and union scabs.
According to BMP, there have been 43 labor-related killings since President Duterte assumed power.
On the other hand, Cosmic Enterprises Inc. Independent Labor Union (CEILU) recently suffered a mass termination of union members after a recent labor inspection by the DOLE resulted in findings of illegal labor-only contracting. Instead of enforcing compliance of the violations they themselves found, the DOLE prevented the Union from exercising their constitutional right to strike by deeming their Notice of Strike not filed.
Espiritu bared that “the recent spate of violence against workers and their pro-capitalist intervention in labor disputes are effects of Duterte’s posture on labor evident in his veto message of the Security of Tenure Bill. By stating that he wanted to allow employers more flexibility in contractualization, he delivered his marching orders to all government agencies: the state’s allegiances lie with capitalists, not the workers they oppress.”
After their protest at the DOLE, the workers followed and participated in the larger protest action by the United People’ Action in Luneta in the afternoon.###
For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu @ 0995 972 9969
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