Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights caused strike

Photo from

Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights left workers with no other option but to fight and hold a strike. We cannot emphasize this point enough in response to Davao City Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte’s claim that it was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno which instigated workers to hold a strike and subsequently caused the company’s closure. Don’t look at KMU, look at Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights.

By refusing to recognize long-term contractual workers as regular employees, Nakashin Davao International Inc. has violated its workers’ right to a living wage, security of tenure and free exercise of trade-union rights. The illegal retrenchment of 75 workers for refusing to sign quitclaim waivers also violates workers’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and to organize.

Had the Nakashin management agreed to meet the workers’ just, legitimate and doable demands, they would not have been pushed to hold a strike. Nakashin is more than capable of regularizing its workers who have been employed for four to nine years doing jobs that are deemed desirable and necessary to the company’s operations.

We beg to disagree with the vice-mayor’s demand that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of former Anakpawis Partylist representative and KMU vice-chairperson for Mindanao Joel “Ka Jomag” Maglunsod as the undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment be revoked.

Ka Jomag’s appointment as labor undersecretary is essential in ensuring that the incoming Duterte government’s promise of change is realized in the Labor Department. His appointment would ensure that the DOLE would serve the interests of Filipino workers. It would signal a departure from previous administrations’ thrust of neglecting and disrespecting workers’ rights and welfare to boost capitalists’ profits.

We hope that the workers of Nakashin could still hold a dialogue with vice-mayor Duterte and come up with a resolution that’s favorable to workers and the Nakashin management.

World Bank’s opposition to contractualization ban revolting – KMU

We vehemently condemn the World Bank for expressing its opposition to moves to end contractualization in the country.

The defense of contractualization made by Mara Warwick, World Bank Philippines country director – on the basis of the multilateral institution’s “Labor Market Review: Employment and Poverty in the Philippines” report – is most revolting.

It again shows that the World Bank is an evil institution. It was instrumental in the imposition of policies that press down wages, promote contractual employment, and violate trade-union rights in the country. It made the implementation of these policies a precondition for the granting of previous government’s loans. It has consistently served the interests of big foreign and local capitalists.

Contractualization is a wholesale violation of workers’ basic rights and its eradication should be a top agenda of any institution that truly serves workers and the poor. It is most unacceptable that the profits of big foreign and local capitalists continue to grow, as attested by the World Bank, while workers suffer from growing hunger and poverty because of contractualization.

The World Bank is pleading to Filipino workers to endure contractualization by dangling the hope, largely false, that good jobs are coming. The truth is that workers in the US, Europe and other industrialized countries have been suffering from growing precarization of work in recent decades.

Contractualization is being implemented not to pave the way for the arrival of good jobs, but because big foreign and local capitalists are benefiting from it. Only the resistance of workers and peoples stand the chance of rolling back this anti-worker attack. The Filipino workers and people have every right and all the solid reasons to fight for contractualization’s complete junking.

The World Bank is known the world over for its megadam projects, which denies drinking water to millions of people so that global monopoly corporations can rake in huge profits. It is now trying to justify the denial of the most basic workers’ rights through contractualization so that big foreign and local capitalists can rake in huge profits.

The World Bank’s recent statement against the banning of contractualization is similar to the US government’s recent statement re-labeling the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist groups. They are masquerading as objective reports but aim to thwart progressive reforms which President-elect Rodrigo Duterte vow to implement – the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the banning of contractual employment.

We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to reject the World Bank’s lies, which it uses to try to justify its evil prescriptions that attack the basic rights of workers and all Filipinos.

Pagkilala kina Sr. Emelina Villegas at Sr. Angelita Navarro, mga lingkod ng uring manggagawa

sr ems sr lita
sr ems
Maliit na pagtitipon at salu-salo para ipagdiwang ang buhay ng dalawang taong-simbahan na naglingkod sa uring manggagawa. Pinangunahan ng Kilusang Mayo Uno, kasama ang Center for Trade Union and Human Rights o CTUHR, Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research o EILER, at Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan o Pamantik.

Tumulong sa mga welga at iba’t ibang pakikibaka. Tumulong sa pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa at pagpapakilos ng mga sr litamanggagawa para sa kanilang sahod, trabaho at karapatan at para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya at tunay na pagbabago sa ating bayan.

Nurse pay hike veto damns Aquino

We condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino for vetoing the bill seeking an increase in the minimum pay of the country’s nurses. Aquino has shown that he is thoroughly anti-worker until the end of his term. He chooses to ignore the clamor for genuine change which was aired by workers and all Filipinos in the recently-concluded elections.

Aquino chose to ignore the clamor coming from the country’s nurses and workers for bringing the minimum wage closer to the living wage. He knows that there is such a clamor, as shown by his cowardice in issuing the veto less than a month before his term’s end. Previous wage hikes, wage distortions, and existing wage structures do not justify the cruel rejection of a wage hike that is much needed by Filipino nurses.

Like his veto of the P2,000 increase in Social Security System pensions, this veto shows again shows that Aquino is vehemently opposed to giving workers any form of immediate relief. It shows that he prioritizes the interests of big foreign and local capitalists, as well as big bureaucrats, over those of workers and ordinary Filipinos.

We certainly hope that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will once again show his difference from Aquino on this issue and approve the wage hike. Aquino is leaving Duterte with so much work to do to improve the situation of workers and all Filipinos.

NDFP-GPH peace talks’ resumption hailed



Filipino workers welcome the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. We support the efforts of the GPH under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the NDFP to address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country towards attaining a just and lasting peace.

We also welcome the incoming Duterte administration’s commitment to release detained NDFP consultants and all political prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. Among the more than 500 political prisoners are unionists and labor rights advocates who were illegally arrested and charged with trumped-up cases for standing up for workers’ rights and welfare.

We hope that the peace talks would serve as a venue to raise the just demands of Filipino workers for a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 daily, regular employment, free exercise of trade-union rights, among others.

Filipino workers are looking forward to a government of national unity, peace and development under the Duterte administration. Workers and all Filipinos need a government that is united in standing up for national sovereignty and patrimony against foreign domination and control, for development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, and for peace based on social justice.

We are also looking forward to the signing of an agreement on social and economic reforms and hope that the GPH would accept the NDFP’s draft for the implementation of genuine land reform and national industrialization which would address the root causes of the armed conflict and are key economic reforms that would bring about sustainable and genuine development to the country.

Amidst these positive developments, we are calling on Filipino workers to be vigilant against any attempt of the US government and rightists in the Philippine government to sabotage the peace process.

Cabusao, de Lima’s release hailed

Even as it called the release of political detainees Sharon Cabusao and Isidro de Lima as “long overdue,” national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed joy over a Bacoor court’s decision to junk charges of illegal possession of explosives against the two, who were released from detention last Wednesday.

The labor group said the case was in the first place merely fabricated by police and military officials who led the arrest of the leader of women’s group Gabriela and the KMU activist, together with National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Adelberto Silva, in Bacoor, Cavite in June 1, 2015.

“The case was filed only to justify Cabusao and de Lima’s detention together with Silva. Its junking is long overdue, but we are still very, very glad over our comrades’ release,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog,  KMU chairperson and convenor of the Free Adel Silva Committee.

The labor leader said Cabusao and de Lima’s release is a victory of the non-stop local and international campaign for their freedom, and of very competent people’s lawyers handling the case.

“This is a victory of all labor and women’s groups, all progressive organizations, in the country and abroad, who fought for their release. It is yet another proof that the collective action of workers, women and other sectors is needed in the struggle for political detainees’ freedom given the pro-elite and anti-Left bias of the country’s justice system,” Labog added.

KMU said that while the release has nothing to do with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of releasing all political prisoners in relation to the resumption of peace talks with the NDFP, Duterte’s promise showed the country that releasing political prisoners is most just.

“We look forward to the release of Silva, all NDFP consultants, labor rights defenders and political detainees under President-elect Duterte. Like Cabusao and de Lima, they are suffering from mere trumped-up charges and should not be in jail any minute longer. The struggle for the freedom of Silva and all political detainees definitely continues,” Labog stated.

KMU called on all Filipinos who believe in human rights and to the peace talks as a way of addressing the root causes of the armed rebellion in the country to speak out and join protests calling for political detainees’ immediate release.

Japanese embassy picketed over Nakashin strike

DSCF4182editNational labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket-protest at the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City this morning to demand the regularization of Nakashin Davao International Inc. workers.

Workers of the Japanese food manufacturing and export company operating in Davao City have been on strike since May 25 to demand the reinstatement of 75 workers who were illegally retrenched, the regularization of all long-term contractuals, and the full payment of the workers’ Service Incentive Leave and other underpaid benefits.

“We are calling on the Japanese government to tell their companies here in the country to respect workers’ rights. They must tell Nakashin to reinstate their illegally-retrenched workers and regularize all its long-term contractual employees,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The Nakashin management terminated 75 workers last April 9 because of the latter’s refusal to sign waivers and quitclaims which would cut their length of service after workers held a protest demanding the regularization of long-term contractuals.

“The 75 workers who are asserting their regularization in Nakashin have been working in the company for four to nine years and therefore deserve nothing less, but were illegally retrenched. This is clearly a violation of workers’ rights and constitute contractualization,” said Labog.

The labor leader also insisted that the workers’ demands are just and the Nakashin management is bound by the Philippines’ labor laws to heed the demands and is more than capable of doing so.

“The long-term contractuals employed by the agencies hired by the company should already be deemed regular employees of Nakashin under the law, but are still being denied regularization. They have every right to hold a strike against this greedy capitalist,” Labog said.

Even exsting labor laws state that employees who are performing tasks that are necessary and desirable to the usual business of the company – such as the Nakashin workers who are packers, slicers, cold storage attendants, and receivers – are considered regular employees.

The labor center meanwhile called on Filipino workers to support the strike of Nakashin workers, saying their fight for regularization is a blow to the Aquino government’s policy of promoting and legalizing contractual employment.

Terrorist tag vs. CPP-NPA should not hinder detainees’ release – KMU

Today, we hold a protest in front of Camp Crame in time for a hearing on the trumped-up charges against Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and alleged senior cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.

The US government’s recent tagging of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations should not hinder the release of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees as promised by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The US government again labelled the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations in order to block the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP, which was promised by Duterte. It also made the declaration in order to prevent the release of detained labor rights defenders and political detainees like the Tiamzons.

In the first place, it is the US government, not the CPP-NPA, which is the terrorist organization. It has been responsible for the death of millions of workers and people in the Philippines and the world because of its wars of aggression. It tags as “terrorist” organizations like the CPP-NPA which struggle against its wars of aggression and plunder of economies of underdeveloped countries like the Philippines.

The Tiamzons and other labor rights defenders and political detainees should not have been arrested in the first place. The Tiamzons should have been immune from arrest, because they are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or JASIG between the government and the NDFP. They are consultants in the peace talks between the government and the NDFP and were unarmed at the time of their arrest.

The cases filed against the Tiamzons and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees are fake and were created with the aim of justifying their illegal detention by the government. These were filed by the now-defunct Inter-Agency Legal Action Group or IALAG, which was created precisely to file fake charges against NDFP consultants and leaders of revolutionary and progressive organizations.

The bones that were presented before the court as evidence against the Tiamzons and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees were questioned at the most recent court hearing. It appears that these do not belong to humans, but to animals, and that prosecutors were not able to establish whose bones these are.

OJT irregularities at PSU should be probed – KMU

We are calling for an investigation into an anomaly in the On-the-Job training program of the Pangasinan State University. We are also calling for support for Dharel dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, who is a victim and the whistleblower in the anomaly.

Dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, has been hospitalized because his lungs collapsed due to a respiratory ailment resulting from his OJT program at a pharmaceutical factory in Laguna.

Dela Cruz was not treated as a trainee, but as a contractual employee. His OJT program was facilitated by JIF Manpower and Referral Services. PSU administrators are washing their hands over the issue.

The incident exposes the following:
(1) Unsafe workplace conditions in the pharmaceutical factory that are unfit even for workers,
(2) The common practice of capitalists of assigning student trainees and contractuals to the most unsafe jobs,
(3) The use of labor contractors for shady transactions aimed at shielding capitalists, and now school administrators, from responsibility,
(4) The task of school administrators of guaranteeing their students’ safety in their OJT programs and ensuring that OJT programs should be about education, not capitalist exploitation, and
(5) The prevailing thrust of OJT programs to exploit students as workers.

The general objective of OJT programs should be clarified. They should aim at enabling students to learn jobs, not at enabling capitalists to exploit students. While only a thin line exists between the two in a society dominated by big foreign and local capitalists, the emphasis should be clear. This has implications for the intensity of the trainings and the setup for their implementation.

Labor agencies should be abolished in line with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization. Their continued existence in the modus operandi for carrying out contractualization is a bane to Filipino workers. The distinction between legitimate and fly-by-night contractors should be abandoned, together with the distinction between labor-only contracting and job contracting.

Duterte urged to stop Fabella privatization

File Photo.

Joining protests in time for the scheduled eviction of the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno appealed to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to speak out against the hospital’s eviction and impending privatization.

The labor group said Health Secretary Janette Garin and Pres. Noynoy Aquino leave defenders of the country’s biggest maternity hospital with no other option but to seek help from the president-elect.

“Unlike Aquino and Garin, Duterte has shown willingness to listen to the clamor of workers and the poor. We are calling on the president-elect to do everything he can to stop the closure and privatization of Fabella, which is very important for workers and the poor,” said Nitz Gonzaga, KMU vice-chair for women’s affairs.

While a news item stating that Duterte has already spoken out against the hospital’s eviction has been circulating in social media, the Save Fabella Hospital Movement claims that it has yet to receive a formal response to its letter addressed to the president-elect.

“Those who are saying that Fabella’s buildings are unsound are the same people who allowed the hospital’s structure to rot for years. They are the advocates of the hospital’s privatization and the denial of affordable maternal and prenatal care from workers and the poor,” added Gonzaga.

The labor leader said only four out of Fabella’s eight buildings were found to be unsafe, but all eight buildings are scheduled to be demolished, and that the hospital will be transferred to a piece of land also not owned by it.

“What the government should do is stop the eviction, stop the demolition, give the land to the hospital, and fund the hospital’s improvement. What we have been seeing is the government committing crime after crime against the hospital and its patients, the climax of which is the hospital’s eviction,” Gonzaga stated.