A week and a half left before Labor Day, workers from various factories in Southern Tagalog launch intensified protests to register the growing discontent of the peoplefor the U.S.-Aquino regime’s labor policies, primarily contractualization and low wages, and call for Aquino’s ouster.
Led by the Coalition of Autoworkers and Related Industries Against Imperialist Domination (CAR-AID), workers staged a regionally-coordinated motorcade last April 20 at 4PM. The motorcade went around economic zones and industrial enclaves in Laguna, namely from the Laguna Technopark in Calamba City and factories near Cabuyao, Biñan and San Pedro. Bearing calls to “Junk contractualization” and “Increase National Minimum Wage to P16,000”, at 5PM the motorcade converged in Amar, Balibago, Sta. Rosa for a program where leaders expressed their disgust on Aquino’s continued subservience to foreign capitalists.
“We are disgusted with how, in almost five year, Aquino not only retained repressive labor laws but also worsened the workers’ conditions. Instead of helping us through job security and higher wages, this government allowed widespread contractualization and bigger profits for factory owners at the expense of our sweat and blood,” said Reden Bauyon, Chairman of CAR-AID.
Bauyon believes that with the current situation of car industry factories in the region, state machineries such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) that supposedly side with the workers are the main implementers of violations on the Labor Code. He cited the recent union-busting of the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation – Independent (LNMSMPIC-Ind) supposedly slated for Certification Elections last April 8. DoLE however, arbitrarily cancelled the said elections without the proper legal mechanisms followed.
“Slowly but surely, workers are realizing that the only hope that we can genuinely hold on to is our collective strength to lead our fellow workers in order to uplift our economic conditions. This is why we continuously organize workers to unionize, most especially the contractual workers who are unaware of their rights and are prone to abuse from company owners,” Bauyon added. He urged other industry related workers to coordinate with them in order to learn and be aware of their situation, which he said is the first step into truly understanding the plight of the sector, not only for higher wages, benefits and job security but also a better society.
“We have learned through history that the most oppressed classes become the seeds for a brighter future once everyone is united under one struggle,” he stressed.
Tomorrow, April 21, a series of protest action will be stage in Manila, particularly at the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, DoLE main office and Mendiola. Participating workers in these protests include unions and organizations from Honda Cars, Honda Parts, Technol8, Takata, Sun Logistic, Ftech, Daiwa, Toyota, Terrumo, Sagara and many others. #