Usec. Maglungsod’s termination, an attack to trade Unions!
by Atty. Sonny Matula, President – Federation of Free Workers
Manila, Philippines — Labor Coalition condemns the direct and indirect attacks on workers’ rights, particularly the right to strike, which is integral to the right to organize and bargain collectively.
“Instead of looking seriously into the reasons for the proliferation of strikes such as contractualization, non-recognition of the union, low wages and inadequate benefits that lead to a collective bargaining deadlock, some quarters of government are conveniently putting the blame on an unfounded ouster plot that involves staging multiple strikes,” said NAGKAISA Chairperson Atty. Sonny Matula.
“Workers have been suffering from indecent conditions at work. Workers have had enough that’s why they are resorting to strikes,” said Matula of Nagkaisa who represents the broadest coalition of workers in the Philippines.
Under the Labor Code, a trade union will have to file a notice of strike with the DOLE, put the decision to go on strike to a vote among its members, and observe a cooling off period before actually going on strike.
Thus, it is a tedious process.
“It is not easy to go on strike as workers risk not earning for weeks and months if only to get their message across. To simply relegate strikes to an ouster plot is insensitive, irresponsible and shows complete disregard for legitimate workers’ concerns,” said Matula.
The Philippines has been experiencing growth but the persistent inequality has only resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor having to share the crumbs. Now that the country is suffering from an economic slump with a weak peso, skyrocketing inflation, and insignificant wage increases, the urge to go on strike just got a big push.
“While unscrupulous employers are principally to be blamed for the push factors of strikes, the government has as much itself to blame as it has failed to arrest rising costs of basic commodities. The approved increase in water rates will push workers to the brink even more, instead of dousing cold water on labor unrest,” said Matula.
President Duterte fired Usec. Joel Maglungsod for, among others, the rise in the number of workers’ strikes. CPM