Widespread trade union repression reduced labour strikes

The labour movement sees no good news in the report by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) boasting a 20% reduction of labour strikes in the past eight months. Widespread repression of the right to union and right to strike plays key factor behind such report.

Capitalist-DoLE complicity meddles with the legal processes at the onset of filing notice of strike so as to dispel workers’ concerted actions such as strike. These manoeuvres repressed workers’ legitimate demands such as the case in Daiho Philippines, High Precision, Carina Apparel, Clarmil, and PhilMetal.

In the past years, DoLE also notoriously implements Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) orders to disperse strikes. Legitimate strikes pertaining to collective bargaining issues were issued AJs such as in Lucio Tan’s Asia Brewery Incorporated and Japanese company Aichi Forging.

Striking workers in Southern Tagalog were often dealt with AJ deputisation through brutal dispersals and harassments by the mercenary police and military. The long-running strikes in Nestle Philippines Cabuyao and Nissan Motor Philippines, among those which experienced violent and bloody AJ deputisations, still stand to this day.

“Nip in the bud”

The number of strikes will eventually decrease since the formation of its main machinery, the union, is not allowed from the start.

Applicant workers fail employment if they were previously employed in a unionised company or by simply airing positive views regarding unionism.

In the first stage of registration, workers organising unions are criminally charged or illegally terminated by capitalists. With their influence and finances over DoLE, LGUs, courts, and yellow unions, capitalists “buy out” and distort legal processes in attempt to “nip in the bud” unionism. Such were practically done in Daiho Philippines, Honda Parts, Cirtek, Hoffen Garments, Shin Heung Electro-Digital, Takata, and others.

Elated in suppressing rights

Although there is no open declaration of Martial Law, the US-Arroyo regime still utilizes the Machiavellian doctrine of the former dictator Marcos in furnishing “good” results justifying the use of repressive means.

We should not be surprised since on September 21, 2002 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself declared war against striking workers, labelling them terrorists. Arroyo said, “Let us fight against criminals. Let us fight against druglords, gambling lords and those who terrorise factories that create jobs.”

The Philippine Constitution and the International Labor Organisation Conventions 87 and 98 guarantee the workers’ right to strike. However, if the decrease in the number of strikes elates the US-Arroyo regime, this logically means that the regime is elated in suppressing and exploiting this basic right.

PAMANTIK-KMU warmly welcomes the upcoming International Labor Organisation High-Level Fact-Finding Mission in the Philippines on September 22-29 to investigate the trade union and human rights violations against workers, mainly of the complaint filed by KMU. This mission will be one of the means to remove the smoke screen of “good news” reports of DoLE and the regime. ###

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