On the porters’ picket at Soro-Soro Ibaba, Batangas

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We support the picket of more than 70 longshoremen of the Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) in Batangas for regular employment, favorable labor standards and assertion of their just rights as laborers.

The workers’ struggle saw a challenge yesterday from an order by SIDC owner and Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP) Partylist representative Rico Geron to block the laborers at the gate. This was a complete reversal of the earlier agreement between the workers and the company management – that the workers will return to work scot-free.

We condemn the anti-worker nature of AGAP Partylist and its 1st nominee Rico Geron in its persistence in contractual arrangements for the workers of SIDC. While it prates about bringing food to people’s tables, it cannot bring regular employment and living conditions to its own employed laborers.

In the past days, the workers have learned that the struggle for regular employment will be a difficult one. It is an arrangement aloof to the employers, from the manufactured fear of massive profit loss. However, regular employment will be for the benefit of thousands of workers; a promise they expect and fight for.

Therefore, the fight continues, and the picketline stands today until the workers’ demands will be met.

In the entire region, contractual workers have set the line against such unliveable standards, and has set pickets, protests and strikes in efforts to change their conditions.

As the Duterte administration takes its oath of office by July 1, we are calling for him to stand fast to his promise to end contractualization, among his other pro-people pronouncements.

However, albeit this promise, the workers of the Southern Tagalog region will remain to uphold the genuine, militant and anti-imperialist brand of unionism it has stood for years. # # #

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