[Press Release] Akbayan Party on Labor Day: Make workers resilient with protection, just wages and strong unions

Akbayan Party on Labor Day: Make workers resilient with protection, just wages and strong unions

Today, we celebrate Labor Day in extraordinary circumstances. When traditionally the working-class celebrates on the streets, today we are confined to our homes and social media. But our calls remain the same: for just and fair wages and benefits, for safe working spaces, for the strengthening of workers’ unions, and the end to unfair practices like ENDO.

Though these past few weeks our country has found itself sick with COVID-19, the Filipino working class has long suffered under the crises caused by the exploitative nature of capitalism and neoliberal government policies. Employment schemes like ENDO deprive workers of their right to security of tenure. Women and LGBTQIA+ individuals are prone to workplace discrimination and harassment. The past few years have seen increasing incidents of labor union harassment and violent picket dispersals by police and company administration. And instead of actively seeking to remedy these issues with key legislation, the government has simply prioritized the interests of multibillionaires and foreign corporations over Filipino workers. The weaknesses and ill effects of such a system have manifested over the past few months, with workers in both formal and informal sectors severely affected with no wages or access to basic necessities.

But this COVID-19 crisis allows us to see how we can move forward to empower our Filipino workers. It is imperative to give a voice to workers and unions disenfranchised by abusive employers or exploitative systems, and to uphold their rights to fair wages, security of tenure, workplace safety, and collective bargaining. By fighting for these rights to be upheld as national policy, we secure not just the welfare of our workers but of their families and the continuously growing Filipino labor force. Most importantly, in doing these we can slowly break down the economic and political structures that exploit labor for profit.

Akbayan Party stands with all Filipino workers, now in the time of crisis and in the continuing fight for labor rights. May our healing as a nation push everyone to work towards a more just and equitable society, and end the systems that have long disempowered and starved workers and their families.

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