Labor unions and labor rights advocates echoed their demands to the Marcos, Jr. administration as they gathered in the forum-consultation titled “Labor Issues, Challenges and Prospects under Marcos Jr. Administration” held last July 21.
The event, co-organized by labor advocacy groups EILER and CTUHR as well as the Commission on Human Rights, started off through a consultation with labor unions regarding their campaigns particularly on matters of occupation safety and civil and political rights.
In this segment, labor unions from Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon shared their experiences of being red-tagged by state forces, being subjected to deceitful retrenchment/early retirement schemes, illegal termination, perilous work environment, stunted wages, and lack of safety measures in the midst of pandemic, among others.
The forum followed starting off with the presentation by EILER and CTUHR on the present condition of labor rights in the Philippines. Highlighted were the facts that the previous administration failed to significantly increase wages of workers amid high inflation rates and massive job loss brought by the pandemic, as well as the administration’s failure to end contractualization. On the other hand, CTUHR, according to its independent monitoring, raised alarm over the intensifying red-tagging, perpetrated primarily by the NTF-ELCAC, against labor unions and advocates aimed at weakening collective assertion of their rights.
Representatives from the UP Law Center Workers and Employees Program (WEP) and the Commission on Human Rights, then, expressed their commitment in protecting rights of workers to association and worker’s benefits by laying down measures they offer such as fact-finding investigation for the CHR and drafting of needed labor law reforms on the part of the UP WEP
The event concluded with representatives from trade union centers Julius Cainglet, Vice President of Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Ka Leody De Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, and Ka Elmer “Bong” Labog of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) discussing the prospects of labor unionism and rights under the incumbent administration.
The three is united in the view that the Marcos, Jr. administration will follow the blueprint of its predecessor emphasizing the rough road ahead in claiming worker’s rights to decent wage, benefits, and security of tenure. Notwithstanding, the groups emphasized the growing need for workers and basic sectors to solidify their ranks as they soldier on with their campaigns and resist all forms of suppression to their constitutional right to association. ##