CHURCH JOINS LABOR CALL FOR SECURE JOBS, LIVING WAGE
3,000 Strong Subic Workers To March on May 1
On the 125th anniversary of the international Labor Day, workers from Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN) held coordinated protest actions in key cities across the nation unified by the demand for ‘job security and a living wage’.
MAKABAYAN, a trade union and political center, marched to Mendiola Bridge in Manila, in front of Clark Ecozone in Pampanga, in Subic Zambales, in Mariveles,Bataan, in front of the Bonifacio Monument in Davao City and the NFL Building in General Santos City.
In Manila, the group was later joined by KONTRA (Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon) and religious groups and laity members of the CLC (Church-Labor Conference) where MAKABAYAN is an active member.
MAKABAYAN explained that in both developing and developed countries, its labor that is burdened by tax increases as well as deep cuts in social services and social protection, the prescription of international financial institutions for economies hit hard by the on-going economic crisis.
“By implementing contractualization, our hard-won rights and benefits are circumvented or outrightly violated. Employers only play lip service to implementing labor standards,” explained Pete Pinlac, MAKABAYAN Chairperson.
Dignity and Rights
Meanwhile CBCP-NASSA- Justice and Peace Chairman Broderick Pabillo in a statement read in front of the workers of Hanjin in Subic expressed support for the struggle of the workers.
He quoted from the encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) written by Pope John Paul II in 1981, which states that labor holds priority over capital (MAS MAHALAGA ANG TAO KAYSA MGA BAGAY, ANG PAGGAWA KAYSA KAPITAL) and that dignity and rights of workers must be upheld.
Treated Like Slaves
In Subic, Zambales twenty one thousand workers of Korean shipping giant, HANJIN continue to work under unsafe and slave-like work conditions. Workers continue to suffer from maltreatment and health problems like skin allergies and eye infection. In case of accidents, health benefits from the company are unheard of.
Based on latest reports, two workers died from two different accidents last April. A total of nine accidents involving ten workers occurred between March-April 2011.
According to Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Hanjin (SAMAHAN) President Alfie Alipio, “we shall continue to assert our collective rights in the shipyard because it is just and it is the right thing to do,”