Anakpawis demands for significant Labor Day offering – legislated wage hike, job security, reversal of anti-labor policies
DAVAO CITY—Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Anakpawis Partylist said they won’t be appeased by the package of non-wage benefits for workers set to be announced as token gift by the Arroyo government on Labor Day.
Malacañang has also announced that the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will hold a mega-job fair for job seekers on Labor Day instead of granting the wage hike demands of workers.
“The country’s working sector is demanding for significant wage, secured employment and better working conditions but the Arroyo administration, through the Department of Labor and Employment, opted to provide trivial, non-significant offerings for Labor Day,” said Romualdo Basilio, KMU chairperson and Anakpawis partylist coordinator.
Basilio added that job fairs on Labor Day are doubly insulting for workers as it further highlights the worsening problem on local job generation. He added that most of the job offerings at Dole’s job fairs are low-paying, contractual, man-pooling jobs for local and overseas employment.”
“Job fairs have in fact, became ‘job fairy tales’ — giving false hopes and further desperation to the unemployed. Dole’s “Get hired on Labor Day” program is a gimmick, aimed to pacify the growing discontent of workers,” Basilio said.
The group believes that job fairs cannot solve the perennial problem of unemployment and low wages. Throughout the years, workers nationwide and those from different provinces in Southern Mindanao region have continued the struggle for the P125 Across the Board wage Increase.
“But what has the US- Arroyo regime offered to workers instead? Union Busting, non-remittance of worker’s SSS benefits, military intervention in the picket line and among militant unions, repressive labor policies, among others,” Basilio said.
Basilio cited that the unemployment figure under the Arroyo administration broke all records in the country’s history with the 13.9 percent jobless rate in April 2002.
“Workers are asking for what they rightfully deserve – decent jobs, and economic relief, not alms and morsels from the government and employers,” Basilio said.
The labor leader also had a list of workers electoral demands for national candidates. Among KMU and Anakpawis major demands are:
o Granting of substantial across-the-board legislated wage increase for workers in the private sector;
o Job security, humane and gender-sensitive working condition;
o Local job generation and reversal of labor export policies;
o Intensified government labor inspections to ensure compliance to labor standards;
o Censure of employers who carry out unfair labor practices;
o Repeal of DOLE Advisory # 2 or flexible work arrangements;
o Justice for all victims of trade union repression;
o Repeal of all regressive tax policies and
o Control in the prices of basic commodities and services.
“In addition, harassments, threats, intimidation and extra-judicial killings of union leaders and members have been the main trend in the region over the last year especially in Compostela Valley Province,” Basilio added.
Basilio said that KMU and its allied labor organizations and Anakpawis Partylist will mobilize 10,000 workers at Rizal Park in Davao City on May 1 to commemorate the International Working People’s Day.