Earth Day: Global Warming, El Niño affecting workers

April 22, 2024

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an NGO that empowers workers from the formal and informal sectors of the economy to claim their labor and human rights, unites with the workers and peoples of the Philippines and the world in marking this year’s Earth Day.

In the spirit of the creation of this special day, we mark this year’s Earth Day by raising our concern over a pressing environmental issue. This year, global warming and El Niño have been raising temperatures and making workplaces, aside from homes, really unbearable for workers and all Filipinos.

We call on employers and the government to ensure that workers’ right to safe workplaces, in particular, and just and favorable conditions of work, in general, are protected and fulfilled. We demand that employers must workers’ health are protected and that their bodies and surroundings are cool and that they are properly hydrated.

In particular, workplace temperatures must be monitored regularly[LP4] . Employers must ensure measures to reduce temperatures especially in workplaces where these reach and even exceed dangerous levels. Water for drinking and even bathing should be made available and accessible to workers.

We also bewail the high power and water rates during this time of the year. While the basic law of supply and demand can be invoked to justify the high rates, corporations are actually profiting from the misery of workers and all Filipinos. Something must be done to lessen Filipinos’ suffering.

At the same time, we at CTUHR are calling on the Philippine government and all governments, as well as international inter-governmental bodies to become proactive in demanding that international actions against global warming, which is worsening the El Niño phenomenon, be undertaken. We enjoin lawmakers to look into crafting bills for the further protection of workers’ health and safety amid these conditions.

In particular, developed countries must deliver on their pledges for climate financing that is new and additional to development financing. Climate financing must be allocated not only for adaptation measures but more importantly for mitigation measures in response to climate change.

Giant strides must be made to end the global economy’s dependence on fossil fuels. Various fixes simply won’t do to hinder the deleterious effects of fossil fuels on the environment. We reiterate: time is running out as temperatures continue to rise and to reach levels that are dangerous to biodiversity.

So-called development projects that are harmful to the environment must be stopped, such as open-pit mining, conversion of forests to plantations, land reclamations, and quarrying. [LP8] Corporations’ violations of environmental standards should be monitored more closely and punished more severely. Climate justice is only possible if workers’ rights and social justice is at the core of climate actions.

Scientists have proven that global warming has been accelerated by human activity, particularly under capitalism. Capitalism has been disastrous to the environment and to labor. This Earth Day, we vow to assert labor rights and sustainable development against capitalism, and aspire for a better future.###