ST riders sped off to HoR, Mendiola for wage hike

Not the usual motorcycle enthusiasts and riders clubs which seek road adventures during weekends, these workers got their two wheels, hit the high gear, and road off for a cause to the House of Representatives and Mendiola.

Led by Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU), 60 workers wearing “P125 vests” from various companies in Southern Tagalog rode their motorcycles to Manila, pushing for the wage increase, today, November 25. A hundred other workers and community members, in jeepneys, joined the motorcade caravan which kicked off at 7:00 AM in Cabuyao, Laguna.

“We are calling the attention of the Congress, Malacanang, and more so with the wider public, that we are serious in demanding for the legislated P125 daily wage increase,” said PAMANTIK-KMU spokesperson Hermie Marasigan.

P148 to P320 in the region

With the last Wage Order No. IVA-13 in 2008, minimum wage in CALABARZON ranges from P148 to P320.

“Wages in the region is way too low. Worse, most employers don’t even implement the minimum wage. In one documented case, a foreign-owned garments company, workers receive only P70 daily,” confirmed Marasigan.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) pegged in September 2008 the family living wage to P809 for a family with 6 members.

Marasigan added, “Prices of basic needs never go down but continuously increase. By now, a worker’s family, in order to survive a day, should be earning more than P900.”

House Bill 375

The motorcade caravan demands the immediate passage into law of House Bill 375 filed by Anakpawis Partylist.

Marasigan added, “Workers have been demanding for the P125-legislated wage increase since 1999. The wage bill originally authored by the late Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran has been continuously and deliberately delayed at the Congress committee level.”

“P125 wage increase is actually not enough, but it will at least shoulder some of our basic needs. We believe that it is only through workers and people’s continuous actions that the government and employers will be pushed to heed this demand. We will continuously campaign for P125.”

The workers held a program at the House of Representatives. Anakpawis Partylist representative Rafael Mariano and KMU Chairman Elmer Labog conveyed their messages to the workers and the urgency of the wage increase.

Members of KMU and Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan joined the motorcade caravan in Mendiola Bridge.  The program ended 3:30PM.###

Statement of Condemnation on the Murder of Carlo ”Caloy” Rodriguez

Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo condemns to the highest terms the killing of Carlo “Caloy” Rodriguez, president of Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa ng Calamba Water District (NLM-CWD), an affiliate of Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE).

While on his home from work, Caloy was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen at about 5:30 PM on November 12, 2010 in Halang, Calamba City, Laguna. Caloy died instantly after sustaining four (4) gunshots.

Caloy is a known and respected leader not only in the public sector. Workers in the private sector are in arms with the Calamba Water District union which Caloy leads in the commemoration of International Labor Day every May 1 in the regional activity in Calamba City. As union leader, Caloy also exerted all their efforts to take action with the struggle of other marginalized sectors in the Southern Tagalog region.

Similar to PAMANTIK-KMU Chairman Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna and BAYAN-Southern Tagalog leader Noli Capulong who were also assassinated in Calamba City during the time of US-Arroyo regime, Caloy’s relentless commitment to the working class and the people is what the perpetrators want to put an end to by means of killing.

Extra-judicial killings continue in the region beside the trumped up charges against leaders and activists. Caloy is the first victim of extra-judicial killing in Laguna under the administration of Noynoy Aquino. The military and the Aquino administration which only continues to implement the counter-insurgency Oplan Bantay Laya, are held accountable for the killing of Caloy.

The local government under Mayor Joaquin Chipeco is also held responsible for the murder of another respected leader in Calamba City. Chipeco, who is also the chief of the CALABARZON Peace and Order Council, allowed military deployment in the city.###

Pahayag ng pagkondena sa pagpaslang kay Carlo ”Caloy” Rodriguez

Mariing kinokondena ng Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) ang pagpaslang kay Carlo “Caloy” Rodriguez, pangulo ng Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa ng Calamba Water District (NLM-CWD), kaanib ng Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE).

Habang papauwi galing sa trabaho dakong 5:30 ng hapon noong Nobyembre 12, 2010 sa Halang, Calamba City, Laguna, tinambangan si Caloy ng mga salaring magkaangkas sa motorsiklo. Nagtamo ng apat (4) na tama ng baril si Caloy na agad niyang ikinamatay.

Kilala at respetadong lider si Caloy hindi lamang sa pampublikong sektor na kanyang kinabibilangan. Taun-taong kakapit-bisig ng mga manggagawa sa pribadong sektor ang unyong pinamumunuan ni Caloy sa Calamba Water District sa paggunita ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Manggagawa sa panrehiyong pagkilos nito tuwing Mayo Uno sa Calamba City. Bilang pangulo rin ng kanilang unyon, sinikap niyang isanib ang kanilang lakas sa mga pagkilos at pakikibaka ng iba pang sektor sa rehiyong Timog Katagalugan.

Gaya ni PAMANTIK-KMU Chairman Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna at BAYAN-TK leader Noli Capulong na pawang pinaslang din sa Calamba City sa panahon ng rehimeng US-Arroyo, ang di-matatawarang komitment ni Caloy sa manggagawa at mamamayan ang nais kitlin ng mga salarin sa pamamagitan ng pagpaslang.

Nagpapatuloy ang extra-judicial killings sa rehiyon bilang kabilang mukha ng pagsasampa ng gawa-gawang kaso sa mga kilalang lider at aktibista. Unang biktima si Caloy ng extra-judicial killing sa Laguna ngayong panahon ng administrasyon ni Noynoy Aquino. Mananagot ang militar at administrasyong Aquino lalo pa’t ipinagpatuloy lamang nito ang pagpapatupad ng kontra-insurhensyang Oplan Bantay Laya.

Responsable din ang lokal na pamahalaan sa ilalim ni Mayor Joaquin Chipeco sa isa na namang kaso ng pagpaslang sa isang kilalang lider sa Calamba City. Si Chipeco, na hepe din ng CALABARZON Peace and Order Council, ang nagpapahintulot ng deployment ng militar sa lunsod.###

Statement of Condemnation Against the Closure of Keihin Philippines

Workers in Southern Tagalog region, as well as all the workers in the whole country, condemn to the highest terms the threat of closure posed by the Japanese-owned Keihin Philippines. This closure clearly leads to the massacre of regular jobs.

Barely 48 hours after signing a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and management, an unexpected news shocked workers one morning on October 29. Keihin Philippines Corporation president Akihiro Takahashi announced the company’s closure allegedly as part of “cost-cutting measures”.

The closure will affect the 106 work force including the rank and file employees, management staff, and supervisors.

The closure of Keihin is illegal. This outrightly violates the recently signed CBA. No person in the right frame of mind will conclude a CBA and immediately afterwards declare closure.

Furthermore, considering the legal process, the company filed no notice of closure to the Department of Labor and Employment.

It is by no means unreasonable to say the company as incurring losses since it earned a gross income of PhP 1.1 billion last year. This is precisely one of the bases for workers to demand for a morsel fraction for an increase in their wages and benefits in the CBA. Also, this large income lamely supports the reason for company closure and seizure of operations in the Philippines.

The management’s move to close the company was planned and orchestrated in time with the holiday on November 1, All-Saints Day. Behind the fruitful CBA lies the monster all out to massacre jobs. In the final analysis, capitalist Keihin intends to run away from its obligations to its workers in the ultimate aim to bust their union.

Challenge in strengthening the genuine and militant unionism

Keihin union is one of the founders of genuine and militant unionism in Laguna Technopark. It treads the more than a decade practice and experience in struggling for reasonable wages, job security, and legitimate rights of workers. In the past years, their joint concerted actions play important role in their political and economic achievements.

The workers’ union and the CBAs it concluded proved not to hinder the company’s drive for profit and greater profit in recent years. In the same logic, the union and concluded CBAs should not be bases and reason for the company’s closure.

Keihin workers hold the management accountable for its unreasonable decision to close the company, as well as its intent to bust the union. It is also rightful for the workers to call the attention of the Philippines Export Zone Authority (PEZA), Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), and largely the pro-capitalist administration of Noynoy Aquino for condoning such attack against workers.

With the Keihin management’s current threat, the workers are left with no option but to further strengthen and strive to achieve the highest form of unity and joint concerted action. These workers and all organised workers should also responsibly shoulder the enlightenment and organising of support for the struggle.

Only in joint concerted actions can we defend and struggle for our legitimate demands.

Oppose illegal closure of Keihin Philippines!

Jobs, not closure!

Oppose and fight against the massacre of jobs in Keihin!

Defend and fight for wage, jobs and rights!