Friday, April 27, 2018

Wage hike is loose change in face of rising inflation—Calabarzon workers



Calabarzon workers slammed the hike in minimum wages in the region as “loose change that will be wiped out by rising inflation.” Several labor groups active in Calabarzon trooped this afternoon to the main gate of the Cavite Economic Zone, the country’s biggest government-managed export processing zone, to protest low pay and union busting.

The regional wage board in Calabarzon ordered pay hikes of P14 to P21.50 thus increasing minimum wages to P303 to P400 depending on the area. The minimum wage hike takes effect tomorrow. The last wage hike in the region was in July 2016.

“A 4.6% rise in prices will erase the P16.50 minimum wage increase in Rosario. From 2.9% last December, inflation has steadily risen to 4.3% this March. By the time the wage hike is implemented tomorrow, it will not redound to any real wage improvement,” asserted Dennis Sequena, coordinator of the Cavite chapter of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

More than a hundred members of labor groups PM, Sentro, Samahang Nagkakaisa ng Cavite, and Katipunan ng Manggagawang Pilipino picketed the Cavite ecozone. The mass action is also a buildup to the massive labor unity rally of workers for the Labor Day commemoration on Monday.

“Workers in the Cavite ecozone are organizing to improve their wages and working conditions but capitalists are illegally busting unions and harassing workers,” Sequena explained.

Last week, garments factory Dong Seung Inc. at the Cavite ecozone terminated en masse all 16 union officers including the union president. In response, the union filed a notice of strike and a strike vote will be held tomorrow. Yesterday management did not attend the mediation meeting convened by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).

Meanwhile, a complaint for harassment was filed by the union at another apparel company, Jisoo Garments Manufacturing Corp. Jisoo workers are alleging that management is behind a falsification case filed against union officers. The case came just after a certification election was held in the company. Among the grievances of workers at Dong Seung and Jisoo that led to unionization was that salaries for all workers, new or old, including people who have worked for several years, remained stuck at the minimum level.

PM also criticized the two-tiered wage system in Calabarzon for being an instrument for cheapening wages. Sequena insisted that “In the two-tiered system, the minimum wage is just a floor wage that will be supplemented by productivity-based increases. But companies in the Cavite ecozone do not provide for productivity pay hikes even though labor productivity has continuously grown as measured by the annual GDP growth.”

April 27, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Workers demand "stop to chacha, shift to chicha"


In response to the latest survey on people's concerns, the militant labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today called on the administration to drop charter change and shift it focus to poverty eradication.

“The pervasiveness of poverty as a result of low wages, high prices of goods and services, unemployment and lack of quality jobs cannot be swept under the rug by a more sensational war on drugs, the ambitious plan to build-build-build, or by shifting our form of government into federalism,” argued Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

Among the group's demands for the coming Labor Day rally is opposition to the charter change initiative of the government.

"Workers say chicha hindi chacha. For three consecutive years now, working class issues such as wage hike, controlling inflation, reducing poverty and job creation remained as Filipinos top concerns while charter change or chacha is at the bottom of the list," insisted Magtubo.

Chicha is a Filipino slang for food, but for the labor group, its meaning expands to other rights and entitlements that enable workers to raise their standard of living.  
The other day dozens of PM members among workers, women and youth led a picket at the Department of Trade and Industry office in Makati to assail government's inaction on inflation and its pro-endo policy. The protest was a buildup to the massive labor unity mobilization planned on May 1 to push for workers' demands such as regular jobs and a living wage.

According to Magtubo, poverty concerns had always been in need of immediate action and unless addressed in a holistic manner, these issues will continue to hound any administration. He added that the failure of President Duterte and his Congress to stop contractualization, abolish the regional wage boards, and to control the rising prices of goods and services due to the imposition of new taxes will always’s be viewed by the working class as a regression rather than an improvement in their quality of life. 

The most recent Ulat sa Bayan report by Pulse Asia revealed that the first three concerns remained to be the issues that most Filipinos want the Duterte administration to address. The survey conducted between March 23-28, 2018 showed that wage hike, controlling inflation and reducing poverty were the top three concerns while charter change landed last in the list with only 3% of Filipinos demanding immediate action for it from the President.

Survey respondents were asked by Pulse Asia the following questions: 
“Sa mga sumusunod na isyung pambansa, pakisabi ang tatlong isyung dapat aksyunan agad ng administrasyon ni Presidente Rodrigo R. Duterte. Maari kayong magbanggit ng iba pa na wala sa listahan. Alin po ang unang isyung dapat aksyunan agad ng kasalukuyang administrasyon? Ano ang pangalawa? Ano ang Pangatlo?” 

Magtubo said the same sentiments will surely be expressed by workers who will be mobilizing themselves nationwide in the coming Labor Day celebration.

April 25, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Workers are more concerned with chicha, not chacha


It’s chicha, hindi chacha. For three consecutive years now, working class issues such as wage hike, controlling inflation, reducing poverty and job creation remained as Filipinos top concerns while charter change or chacha just hang around to be the least. 

In reaction to this news, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) said: “The pervasiveness of poverty as a result of low wages, high prices of goods and services, unemployment and lack of quality jobs cannot be swept under the rug by a more sensational war on drugs, the ambitious plan to build-build-build, or by shifting our form of government into federalism.” 

Yesterday dozens of PM members among workers, women and youth led a picket at the Department of Trade and Industry office in Makati to assail government's inaction on inflation and its pro-endo policy. The protest was a buildup to the massive labor unity mobilization planned on May 1 to push for workers' demands such as regular jobs and a living wage.

According to PM chair Renato Magtubo, poverty concerns had always been in need of immediate action and unless addressed in a holistic manner, these issues will continue to hound any administration. 

“Ang mas kailangan ng mga Pilipino ay chicha, hindi chacha,” said Magtubo, adding that the failure of President Duterte and his Congress to stop contractualization, abolish the regional wage boards, and to control the rising prices of goods and services due to the imposition of new taxes will always’s be viewed by the working class as a regression rather than an improvement in their quality of life. 

Chicha is a Filipino slang for food, but for the labor group, its meaning expands to other rights and entitlements that enable workers to raise their standard of living. 

The most recent Ulat sa Bayan report by Pulse Asia revealed that the first three concerns remained to be the issues that most Filipinos want the Duterte administration to address. The survey conducted between March 23-28, 2018 showed that wage hike, controlling inflation and reducing poverty were the top three concerns while charter change landed last in the list with only 3% of Filipinos demanding immediate action for it from the President. 

Survey respondents were asked by Pulse Asia the following questions: 
“Sa mga sumusunod na isyung pambansa, pakisabi ang tatlong isyung dapat aksyunan agad ng administrasyon ni Presidente Rodrigo R. Duterte. Maari kayong magbanggit ng iba pa na wala sa listahan. Alin po ang unang isyung dapat aksyunan agad ng kasalukuyang administrasyon? Ano ang pangalawa? Ano ang Pangatlo?” 

Magtubo said the same sentiments will surely be expressed by workers who will be mobilizing themselves nationwide in the coming Labor Day celebration. 

April 24, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Women and youth slam DTI & ECOP for pro-endo lobby





Women and youth members of the militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) trooped this morning to the offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to protest their pro-endo lobby. “Instead of taming inflation to protect consumers, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, has been promoting endo to advance the interests of capitalists,” stated Judy Ann Miranda, PM Secretary General.

Some 100 PMK and women members of PM together with a contingent from the newly formed Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa joined the picket today against the DTI and ECOP for their “blackmail against regular jobs.” The rally comes after DTI and ECOP’s statements that ending endo will scare investors and the announcement of Malacanang that President Duterte is not signing an EO to make direct hiring the norm in employment.

“DTI has been so busy conspiring with capitalists against the workers’ campaign versus endo while prices have steadily increased since the TRAIN law was implemented this year. The 3.6% average inflation for the first quarter of 2018 is the highest in four years. Further, monthly inflation has moved from 2.9% in December 2017 to 3.4% in January 2018 then onto 3.8% this February and 4.3% last March. Thus the trend is go beyond 4.3% as the months go by this year,” Miranda explained.

Meanwhile the youth group Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan (PMK) expressed concern at the lack of jobs awaiting the hundreds of thousands of new graduates this year. “There are not enough jobs for the 600,000 college graduates and thousands more of K-12 graduates. Even worse, endo jobs not decent work awaits young workers entering the labor force,” asserted Kimberly Dolojo, a PUP student and a PMK spokesperson.

Gerry Rivera of the Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa, whose rationale is to foster solidarity among workers in struggle, declared that “President Rodrigo Duterte has betrayed the workers and surrendered to the employers lobby for his refusal to sign an EO to make direct hiring the norm in employment relations. The massive labor unity rally on Labor Day will be a nationwide expression of indignation against the government’s endo policy.”

PMK is raising a red flag as the World Bank recently released a report about the lack of quality jobs in the country and the worsening inequality as a result. The group is likewise questioning ECOP for the Jobstreet data that only 24% of employers are willing to hire K-12 graduates.

Dolojo insisted that “In 2016, 78% of the jobless were 15 to 34 years old. Half of them were aged 24 years old or below. A diploma is no antidote to unemployment as 34% of the unemployed had actually gone to college and 20% were college graduates!”

Photos of the rally can be accessed at PM’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/partidomanggagawa

April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Youth group concerned at lack of jobs for new graduates



(Photo from Rappler)
The youth group Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan (PMK) expressed concern at the lack of jobs awaiting the hundreds of thousands of new graduates this year. Tomorrow, PMK is holding a protest at the offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to highlight its call for decent jobs for young workers.

“Are there enough jobs for 600,000 college graduates and thousands more of K-12 graduates immediately entering the labor force? Further, are there decent jobs awaiting them or just more of the usual endo work?,” asked Rea Foliente of PMK.

PMK is the youth wing of the militant Partido Manggagawa. PM is among the labor groups active in the campaign to end contractualization and has criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his refusal to sign an EO to make direct hiring the norm in employment relations.

PMK is raising a red flag as the World Bank recently released a report about the lack of quality jobs in the country and the worsening inequality as a result. The group is likewise questioning ECOP for the Jobstreet data that only 24% of employers are willing to hire K-12 graduates.

Foliente insisted that “In 2016, 78% of the jobless were 15 to 34 years old. Half of them were aged 24 years old or below. A diploma is no antidote to unemployment as 34% of the unemployed had actually gone to college and 20% were college graduates!”

She added that “The youth challenge the DTI and ECOP to show us the numbers. How many graduates can be absorbed in the labor force? And will the work be regular or dead-end contractual jobs in agencies?”

“Another employers organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier questioned that the minimum number of hours required of senior high school students are not enough to train and qualify them for entry-level work,” Foliente explained.

Some 100 PMK and women members of PM together with contingents from the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union will join the protest tomorrow against the DTI and ECOP for their pro-endo lobby and scare tactics against regular jobs. The rally comes after the announcement of Malacanang that President Duterte is not signing an EO to make direct hiring the norm in employment.

Foliente cited the International Labour Organization (ILO) report titled “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017: Paths to a better working future,” that stated that youth unemployment rate for Southeast Asia and the Pacific is seen to rise from 11.7 percent in 2016 to 12 percent in 2017, and to 12.2 percent in 2018. 

April 22, 2018

Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan