A faith-based group called on the Philippine government on Monday, November 30, to address the “continuing oppressive condition” of Filipino workers.
The Church People and Workers Solidarity made the call as the country marked the “Global Day of Action for Jobs, Rights, Safety, and Accountability.”
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, co-chairperson of the group, said Filipino workers “are continually victimized by man-made disasters such as neocolonialism and neoliberal globalization.”
The prelate of San Carlos diocese in the central Philippines said “neoliberal globalization restricts workers’ right to collective bargaining, withholds their right to strike, and excludes workers from unions.”
He said the already dire situation of workers is “further aggravated” by the pandemic and the series of natural disasters that hit the country in the past weeks.
In October, nearly 3.5 million workers nationwide had “lost their jobs” or “suffered a reduction in their pay” due to the global health crisis, according to government data.
Bishop Alminaza said the “precarious existence” of Filipino workers “is further aggravated by the implementation of militarist lockdowns … and attacks against trade unions and human rights.”
For four consecutive years, the Philippines is named one of ten worst countries for workers and trade unions as rated by the International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index.
“Trade unions are challenged by anti-union discrimination, ‘contractualization’ of work, and violence, as well as red-tagging and the criminalization of their leaders and activists,” noted the confederation.
The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights has documented at least 50 workers, unionists, and labor rights defenders who have been killed since July 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.
The observance of the “Global Day of Action” aims to spread awareness “on the worsening plight of the Filipino workers,” said the Labor Rights Defenders Network.
The group said it is time “to amplify the calls and bolster the fights of the workers and the trade union movement in defense of their rights and dignity.”
Bishop Alminaza said even the grievances of other sectors of society during the pandemic has “been generally ignored by the present administration.”
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