Thursday, June 13, 2024

Fight for freedom far from over, labor groups say

MANILA, Philippines — As the country celebrated Independence Day on Wednesday, a labor federation called on the Marcos administration to address critical issues, emphasizing the urgent need for freedom of association, job security against contractualization, and freedom from poverty wages.

According to the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, the “spirit of freedom” that the country’s heroes fought for was not only from colonial bondage but also from poverty, ignorance and powerlessness.

“As we mark our country’s independence, let us not forget the freedom of our workers to desire for a better life and more certain future. The coalition stands for its calls for justice and equality for all workers. It’s time that the government listen to these calls and enforce meaningful reforms that mirror the true spirit of freedom,” the group said in a statement.

‘Contractualization’

Nagkaisa chair and Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula said that despite having the constitutional guarantee of the right to form unions, many workers in the country find themselves unable to organize.

“Other than being killed or Red-tagged, workers are not recognized as employees of the firms or enterprises they serve. Instead, they are supplied by cooperatives or manpower agencies, or are misclassified as independent contractors,” he said.

“All these strategies employed to avoid regularization are commonly called ‘contractualization.’ This systemic avoidance strips workers of their rightful benefits and job security,” Matula added.

The labor leader said many of the country’s workers are also subjected to low pay, which are “strategically kept low” by pegging them to the regional wage boards’ decisions for 35 years now.

“These boards often set wages that do not rise above the poverty threshold, ensuring that workers remain chained to poverty wages,” he added.

Higher daily pay

Matula called on the government to act decisively on the plight of workers, saying “Now we need to unshackle our workers from poverty by giving them living wages. Start with a nationwide P150 daily wage hike. Allow workers to organize unions and ensure their right to security of tenure.”

Even AGRI party list Rep. Wilbert Lee said that Filipinos’ struggle for freedom was far from over.

“While we celebrate the triumph forged by our heroes who fought and liberated us from foreign invaders, we must free Filipinos from perennial problems and sufferings,” he said in a statement.

He expressed hope that every Filipino would soon know true freedom from poverty, high cost of goods and services, corruption, injustice and social discrimination. - By: Jeannette I. Andrade, Jerome Aning - @inquirerdotnet

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Labor groups press P150 wage hike

Nagkaisa chairman and Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula



ORGANIZED labor groups will march today, Labor Day, to Morayta Street in Manila to dramatize their call for a P150 legislated wage increase and a dialogue with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The labor groups, composed of trade union centers, labor federations and workers' organizations in both the private and public sectors, will march under the National Wage Coalition (NWC) banner.

Leading them are the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa).

"Passing the P150 wage recovery increase is only the first yet pivotal step that the Philippines should take to actualize living wages embodied in proposed legislation for a P750 daily wage increase for private sector workers and a new Salary Standardization Law (SSL) anchored on the P33,000 monthly minimum wage for public sector workers," the NWC said in a statement.

Officials from the Department of Labor and Employment will be at a meeting with the labor representatives in MalacaƱang, but there is no guarantee that the President will join them.

The Palace program will be from 8 a.m. to noon. The NWC said they will also hold a program in Morayta early in the morning of May 1.

The NWC stressed the need for a dialogue with the President, which is traditionally done every Labor Day celebration.

Aside from the wage hike, the labor groups want to discuss challenges regarding job security due to rampant contracting practices and the need for enhanced freedom of association.

"The lack of dialogue with the President has been a concerning pattern that can no longer be overlooked," said Sonny Matula, Nagkaisa chairman and Federation of Free Workers president. "As we observe Labor Day, it is paramount that these significant concerns are addressed directly with President Marcos to ensure the effective representation and advancement of workers' rights and welfare."

The NWC also called on Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to facilitate a meeting with the President. - By William B. Depasupil


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

NATIONAL WAGE COALITION LABOR DAY MOBILIZATION: DAGDAG SAHOD ISABATAS! 150 PATAAS!




On Wednesday, 01 May 2024—Labor Day—thousands of workers from various Philippine trade union centers, labor federations, and workers' organizations will march together in solidarity to Morayta under the banner of the National Wage Coalition to send a strong message to Batasan and MalacaƱang: DAGDAG SAHOD ISABATAS! PHP 150 PATAAS!

Passing the ₱150 wage recovery increase is only the first yet pivotal step that the Philippines should take to actualize living wages embodied in proposed legislation for a ₱750 daily wage increase for private sector workers and a new Salary Standardization Law (SSL) anchored on the ₱33,000 monthly minimum wage for public sector workers. 

Various trade union centers, labor federations, and workers’ organizations in both the private and public sector led by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa!) united in solidarity as the NATIONAL WAGE COALITION.

SAMA-SAMA TAYONG MAGMARTSA SA MAYO UNO!
SAMA-SAMA NATING ITAAS ANG SAHOD MO!

#labordayph2024
#MayoUno2024

Thursday, March 28, 2024

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition Welcomes the Surfacing of Two Activists

In an inspiring turn of events on Holy Thursday, the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition expresses profound relief and joy over the release of labor and environmental activists Francisco "Eco" Dangla and Axielle "Jak" Tiong.

The unexpected surfacing of Eco and Jak, who had been previously reported as abducted under alarming circumstances, serves not only as a beacon of hope for the advocacy community but also as a poignant reminder of the state's indispensable obligation to protect the life and liberty of every citizen, as guaranteed by our Constitution.

Although details regarding their return to safety remain limited, the circulation of an image showing the two activists conversing with Archbishop Socrates Villegas symbolizes their current safety under the aegis of the Church. This positive outcome, however, leaves many unanswered questions, thereby underscoring the urgency for a transparent and exhaustive inquiry into their abduction and the broader spectrum of assaults on activists.

The NAGKAISA Labor Coalition wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to all individuals, the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, and organizations that have stood in solidarity for the cause of Eco and Jak's freedom and safety. 

This incident starkly illuminates the formidable challenges that labor and environmental activists continue to confront, frequently risking their personal safety. It propels us towards a renewed commitment to upholding trade union and human rights and safeguarding those who courageously advocate for truth and justice.