As the Duterte administration marks its 2nd Labor Day in power, it is no longer facing the hopeful workers and trade unions that trusted him, but a seething dismay of betrayed people. The regime did not only miserably fail in ending labour contractualization, getting national equal wage for workers all over the country, but paved the intensification of the attacks on workers and trade union rights, says labour rights organization, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR). The group also argues that the statement circulated that the President may still issue an EO on Endo on May day, could be an attempt to extract some hope from people whose only option left to them is perennial unemployment or long-term contractualization.
CTUHR also underscored that cases of trade union and human rights violations` dramatically increased during Duterte’s nearly two years in office. It cited 28 victims of extrajudicial killings in the labor sector primarily from agricultural workers, and 3,317 more suffered from arbitrary arrests, harassments, physical assault and false accusation of criminal charges.
It added that it has recorded complaints involving 9,919 workers over non-recognition of union, union-busting and other forms of violence against unionists in the workplace. At the same time, it also noted that both the government and capitalists have failed to protect workers from accidents that led 76 deaths (recorded) mostly in workplace fires. Companies and corporations rabid anti-union policies that prevail in workplaces went unchecked, and workers’ right to organize was drowned by government promises of financial assistance when they are dismissed from work.
CTUHR also slammed the continuous militarization in unionized plantations in Mindanao and forcing trade unionists affiliated with Kilusang Mayo Uno, for instance, to surrender as NPA supporters. Harassments and threats that something bad will happen against unionists and their families from Shin Sun Tropical Fruits, SUMIFRU Packing Plants, Fresh Max banana plantations in Compostela Valley persist, and being justified by Martial Law in Mindanao. Likewise, it denounces the so-called security forums held in companies, but in fact to conduct anti-union seminars, as a clear affront to rights to freedom of association.
While the condition in workplaces has gone from bad to worse, the regime’s campaign to rid the country `from what is considers as embarrassment’ and damaging to its image’ create more embarrassments in fact. The persecution of human rights defenders like Sr. Patricia Fox who is more than a Filipino than those Filipinos who profess to be pro-poor but doing extremely opposite, is case in point.
“We stand in solidarity with the workers in their continuing fight to reclaim their rights, for job security, national minimum wage, dignity and justice. We add our voice in demanding stop the killings, stop violence in the workplace and hands off human rights defenders”, the group concluded. ###