Workers vow resistance vs Duterte’s tyranny and creeping dictatorship

Today, Filipino workers join the nation in protest against the Duterte regime’s tyranny and creeping Marcosian dictatorship. Forty five years after Marcos declared Martial Law, the horrors of his fascist authoritarian rule are being revived under Duterte’s wars against the people.

Duterte’s war against the poor must stop. Under the guise of his ruthless “war on drugs”, Duterte has murdered over 13,000 Filipinos with the sole aim of sowing terror among the people, especially the poor, to make us bow down in fear and succumb to his authoritarian rule.

This was evident in the murder of Francisco Guevarra, a unionist from the Gabay ng Unyon sa Telekomunikasyon ng mga Superbisor sa PLDT (GUTS-PLDT) and chairman of Barangay 106 in Caloocan. He was summarily executed last July 12, 2017 after refusing to subject his constituents to the PNP’s Oplan Tokhang as a political stand against the government’s anti-poor war on drugs.

Under the guidance of the United States government through its “war on terror”, Duterte has waged a war of suppression against workers, peasants, Moros, Lumads and the entire Filipino people. Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao and Oplan Kapayapaan in the entire country is his response towards the people’s growing outrage over his failed promises and continued implementation of anti-people policies.

Duterte has also used his tyrannical rule to impose his neoliberal economic policies that kills workers with worsening hunger and poverty by promoting cheap, contractual and oppressed labor.

He has legalized contractualization through the DOLE Order 174, adopted a wage cut-wage freeze scheme through the two tiered wage system, while his martial law against workers’ rights remains in place especially in special economic zones where no union-no strike policies are implemented. Duterte is also seeking to kill workers by forcing us to work for 12 hours with pressed-down wages through the impending institutionalization of flexible work arrangements such as the compressed work week scheme.

Duterte’s tyranny must end. Filipino workers vow to resist and defeat Duterte’s attempt to establish his Marcosian dictatorial rule. We will not allow him to impose his fascist dictatorship that would only allow him to freely implement more pro-US and pro-big business neoliberal economic policies. ###

Opposition vs ‘deadly’ compressed work week voiced out by workers

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today held a Metrowide protest and social media day to express workers’ opposition against the looming institutionalization of compressed work week schemes which they claim ‘kills’ workers.

In Pasay city, workers trooped the Senate building to call for the junking of the Senate Bill 1571 or the Compressed Work Week bill filed by Senator Joel Villanueva. They held a mass die-in protest to show how forced extended work hours kills workers.

“The Duterte administration wants to kill us by legalizing slave labor through compressed work week schemes. These flexible work arrangements that forces workers to work for 12-hours have already been implemented by big multinational corporations since the 90’s and has resulted in wage cuts, massive lay-offs, work related diseases and even workplace deaths,” Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson for political and external affairs, said.

Local unions in export processing zones in Laguna also held lunchbreak protests to cite the effects of the implementation of extended work hour schemes in their workplaces.

In Nexperia (formerly NXP Semiconductors Inc.), one worker already died in just the first half of the year due to a heart disease from work fatigue, stress and long exposure to chemicals resulted by working for up to 12-hours under a compressed work week scheme.

Workers in the electronic firm SMT Philippines Inc., where a long work hour scheme is being implemented, claimed that they are being forced to work from 6am to 6pm without overtime pay. This work arrangement has resulted in an overworked pregnant worker losing her baby due to work related illness and stress.

Forced extended work hours are also rampant in the Business Process Outsourcing Industry with workers being forced to work longer hours to take more calls resulting in serious illnesses like pneumonia, cancer, urinary tract infection, throat infections, insomnia and acid reflux.

“We call on our senators to junk the Senate Bill 1571. Enacting this anti-worker bill will only legalize the gross exploitation of our workers. It is enraging that instead of making policies that heeds workers’ demands for a national minimum wage and for ending contractualization, this government has been promoting slave labor and capitalists’ attacks against our wages, jobs and rights,” Ustarez said.

The KMU meanwhile vowed to hold bigger protests to oppose and foil the passage of the SB 1571 and all other forms of institutionalization of flexible work schemes that violates workers’ rights to 8-hour work.

“We will defend our right to 8-hour work at all costs. We will not allow the anti-worker Duterte government to further deny us this right that has been a result of the victory of centuries of life and death struggle of workers all over the world,” Ustarez said.Opposition vs ‘deadly’ compressed work week voiced out by workers

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today held a Metrowide protest and social media day to express workers’ opposition against the looming institutionalization of compressed work week schemes which they claim ‘kills’ workers.

In Pasay city, workers trooped the Senate building to call for the junking of the Senate Bill 1571 or the Compressed Work Week bill filed by Senator Joel Villanueva. They held a mass die-in protest to show how forced extended work hours kills workers.

“The Duterte administration wants to kill us by legalizing slave labor through compressed work week schemes. These flexible work arrangements that forces workers to work for 12-hours have already been implemented by big multinational corporations since the 90’s and has resulted in wage cuts, massive lay-offs, work related diseases and even workplace deaths,” Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson for political and external affairs, said.

Local unions in export processing zones in Laguna also held lunchbreak protests to cite the effects of the implementation of extended work hour schemes in their workplaces.

In Nexperia (formerly NXP Semiconductors Inc.), one worker already died in just the first half of the year due to a heart disease from work fatigue, stress and long exposure to chemicals resulted by working for up to 12-hours under a compressed work week scheme.

Workers in the electronic firm SMT Philippines Inc., where a long work hour scheme is being implemented, claimed that they are being forced to work from 6am to 6pm without overtime pay. This work arrangement has resulted in an overworked pregnant worker losing her baby due to work related illness and stress.

Forced extended work hours are also rampant in the Business Process Outsourcing Industry with workers being forced to work longer hours to take more calls resulting in serious illnesses like pneumonia, cancer, urinary tract infection, throat infections, insomnia and acid reflux.

“We call on our senators to junk the Senate Bill 1571. Enacting this anti-worker bill will only legalize the gross exploitation of our workers. It is enraging that instead of making policies that heeds workers’ demands for a national minimum wage and for ending contractualization, this government has been promoting slave labor and capitalists’ attacks against our wages, jobs and rights,” Ustarez said.

The KMU meanwhile vowed to hold bigger protests to oppose and foil the passage of the SB 1571 and all other forms of institutionalization of flexible work schemes that violates workers’ rights to 8-hour work.

“We will defend our right to 8-hour work at all costs. We will not allow the anti-worker Duterte government to further deny us this right that has been a result of the victory of centuries of life and death struggle of workers all over the world,” Ustarez said.

P21 wage hike in NCR measly, insulting – KMU

Filipino workers are not jubilant over the measly and insulting 21 peso wage increase for workers in the National Capital Region. We are even enraged that the Duterte government through its, regional wage boards remain futile in addressing Filipino workers’ demands for a substantial wage hike.

Filipino workers have long been demanding for the implementation of a National Minimum Wage that would increase wages to P750 daily or P16,000 monthly not just in NCR but in the entire country.

Instead of heeding our demands, the Duterte government is insulting workers with a measly 21 peso increase that would even be futile amidst the unabated increases in the prices of basic goods and services.

Even with NCR wages increased to P512, it still does not come half of the Family Living Wage, or the amount needed by a family of six to survive, which has also already increased to P1,130 according to independent think-tank Ibon Foundation. Worse, wages in regions outside the NCR remain way below living standards especially in the Southern Tagalog region where the minimum wage only stand at a meager P235.

The Duterte government is mistaken if it thinks that this measly increase would pour cold water over Filipino workers’ growing outrage over his legalization of contractualization, railroading of a Compressed Work Week bill and gross violations of human rights under his tyrannical rule.