There's Blood in Your Coffee

Saturday, April 10, 2010

ST workers protest against intensifying trade union repression

Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan • Kilusang Mayo Uno
(Solidarity of Workers in Southern Tagalog • May First Movement)

also view slideshow photos
22 March 2010

Reference: Hermie Marasigan, Spokesperson, Mobile No: +63.9302727373.

ST workers protest against intensifying trade union repression

Workers from Southern Tagalog led by the militant Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Solidarity of Workers in Southern Tagalog-May First Movement) staged protests today in various government labor agencies and courts condemning the intensifying trade union repression in the region.

PAMANTIK said that “the Arroyo administration failed to uplift the worsening condition of workers, yet it even attacked and repressed their legitimate rights.”

No win in labor cases

In front of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Banawe, Quezon City, PAMANTIK lambasted the agency for its “pro-capitalist” stance in dealing labor cases.

According to PAMANTIK spokesperson Hermie Marasigan, “Out of the 111 decisions issued by arbiters in NLRC Region IV-A in 2009, only 32 decisions favored the workers. In NLRC national office, only 61 favored the workers out of 173 resolutions. It’s another thing if the favorable decisions will really take effect as NLRC has no teeth and lost all moral ascendancy to oblige employers, especially TNCs and MNCs, to comply with the decisions.”

As of February 2010, PAMANTIK documented a total of 653 labor cases pending in various labor agencies and courts.

“The number of labor cases is increasing. However, the workers have to endure a prolonged agony in wait for a decision. In NLRC, we even have the pending cases of workers filed as early as 2004 such as that of Keihin Philippines. One worker is here with us with his case for almost 12 years! In fact, the NLRC is notoriously known to workers as the National Labor Relations ‘Cemetery’ where cases are buried,” added Marasigan.

In mockery, the workers carry in front of the NLRC a black coffin painted with the names of involved companies.

Workers’ Calvary

At the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the workers raised black crosses bearing labor issues such as CBA moratorium, “no union, no strike” policy, and assumption of jurisdiction.

PAMANTIK deputy secretary-general Noel Alemania said, “Primarily, DoLE, in collusion with capitalists, is responsible for throwing these ‘crosses’ for workers to burden.”

“There is nothing to be confident of when DoLE said that the number of strikes dwindled down in recent years. DoLE should have also provided the figures how many assumption of jurisdiction orders it issued to suppress workers’ right to strike such as with the case in Nestle Philippines Cabuyao and Nissan Motor.”

DoLE boasts that only four (4) actual strikes happened in 2009, attributing it to the efficiency in labor arbitration and mediation.

“Recently, DoLE assumed jurisdiction of the CBA deadlock in Aichi Forging even before the union filed a notice of strike. DoLE is ever ready in service, not for the workers, but for the capitalists!” added Alemania.

Seeking social justice

The workers staged the last leg of their protest in front of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Marasigan concluded, “We, workers demand an end to the intensifying trade union repression. We demand social justice. Whoever sits in Malacañang after the May Elections, we will push for these demands. Whether Arroyo is unseated or remains in power, we will continue intensifying the struggle for our legitimate rights.”

Today’s action day coincides with the Asia-wide campaign against trade union repression spearheaded by the Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network. ###
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