Chiding President Aquino’s pronouncement that Labor Day should be celebratory with both labor and capitalists greeting each other for “doing a good job” for the past year, workers renewed the call for government to create “not just jobs” but “more regular jobs with living wage.”
Some 25,000 workers under NAGKAISA labor coalition marched from UST to Chino Roces bridge in Manila.
They were joined by senatorial candidates Risa Hontiveros, Ricardo Penson, Allan Peter Cayetano, and Eddie Villanueva, who also signed a pact with the workers vowing to fight for security of tenure, adoption of a living wage, cheaper electric rates, promotion of labor rights in the public sector.
Other candidates have also expressed their willingness to fight for the cause, but have not confirmed for the march are Loren Legarda, Grace Poe – Llamanzares, Jamby Madrigal and JV Ejercito.
Edwin Bustillos, deputy secretary-general of the Alliance of Progressive Labor and co-convenor of NAGKAISA: “Yes, the President listened to our grievances yesterday,” referring to Pres Aquino’s dialogue with labor leaders in Malacanang, “but his mind was set on turning down most of our demands.”
The President has said that he can’t push for the passage of the Security of Tenure bill now pending in Congress because it would negatively affect more workers.
“(Pres Aquino) must be thinking that most Filipino workers are happy with their condition in the workplace — they are not. Most employees are under short term contracts, they are considered casuals or contractuals, whose jobs can be terminated at the whim of their employers and not given any benefits,” says Renato Magtubo, chairperson of Partido Manggagawa coalition.
Vic Balais, President of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines – PTGWO and co-convenor of NAGKAISA: “We call on all Filipino workers to begin the push of expanding the number of regular workers. The labor code has been bastardized by capitalists to the detriment of the workers, by promoting casualization and contractualization.”
The 250,000-strong NAGKAISA, is the largest nation-wide coalition of various labor organizations in the Philippines.
NAGKAISA encompasses the widest spectrum of colors and persuasions — from the leftist Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan) to the moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Federation of Filipino Workers (FFW), the labor centers National Confederation of Labor (NCL) and SENTRO, to the public sector unions Caucus of Independent Unions (CIU), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), ang many other federations.