ILPS – PHILIPPINES
Statement on International Labor Day 2018
The Philippines chapter of the International League of Peoples Struggles salutes the working class and the toiling masses on this historic International Labor Day 2018.
May 1 is an important milestone for the proletariat all over the world. It marks the long and arduous struggle of the working class against exploitation and oppression. As we celebrate the 115th International Labor Day today, the Filipino workers will once again add their mark in history. This year’s rally will be the biggest gathering of Filipino labor in 30 years. More so, 2018 is also the year we celebrate the 200th year of Karl Marx, whose teachings have paved the way for the emancipation of the working class and continues to guide the revolutionary struggles of today.
With the Duterte administration continuously reneging on its promises, it has pushed workers from all over the country to gather together in the demand to end the contractualization in the country. Contractualization, or the use of contractuals instead of regular workers, is a major issue in the Philippines as 24.4 million Filipinos (or 2/3 of the country’s total work force) are not considered regular workers. Yet, Duterte has decided to reject the workers’ demands, reflecting his inclination towards the interests of big businesses and further fuelling the anger that has been fermented by years of struggles.
Duterte continues to uphold the neoliberal dictates of the global monopoly capitalist system. Wages have stagnated. The minimum wage (highest of P502/day in NCR and lowest of P235/day in ARMM) does not even meet half of the amount needed for a family to live (P1,171/day). Millions remain unemployed yet massive lay offs and violations of workers’ rights are being allowed in companies like Coca-Cola, Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Company, NEXPERIA (formerly NXP), Philippine Air Lines, Sumitronics, Wyeth. And just recently, an estimated 30,000 people have lost their jobs and livelihood with the Boracay Island closure. All of these are piling up while Filipinos are continuously pushed to look for work overseas.
Criminal neglect of working conditions resulting in numerous occupational safety hazards persists. In some instances, these have resulted in workers’ deaths such as the recent fire in Manila Pavilion. This is reminiscent of similar workplace disasters in past years such as in Eton, Novo Jeans, Kentex, HTI, NCCC Mall.
Ordinary Filipinos also bear the brunt of the government’s onerous taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) in the form of higher prices of basic goods and services. Thousands of jobs are being threatened with the implementation of the jeepney phaseout. The urban poor continue to remain homeless as they are being denied their right to housing, with substandard government housing projects.
In the background is the creeping dictatorship of Duterte with his strong-arm tactics, and other fascist attacks. To date, some 29 unionists and labor leaders have been killed under Duterte’s rule. The Filipinos’ right to organize, assemble and air our grievances are being curtailed with the dispersal of picket lines (such as in the case of Coca Cola workers), harassments, militarization and red-tagging. He is earnestly trying to intimidate the workers’ movement by illegally arresting labor leaders and filing trumped up charges. Labor organizers Rafael Baylosis, Maojo Maga and George San Mateo are just a few of the many people that the Duterte government is persecuting. Even peaceful supporters like Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox have been victims of this regime’s fascist attacks.
The workers are fighting back. More protests are being staged throughout the country. Organizations are being built and alliances are being established on the basis of mass and democratic struggles guided by proletarian leadership.
The world capitalist system is unable to quell the growing resistance from the working class. Protests have sparked worldwide against various attacks on workers’ rights. French railway workers unions staged protests and strikes against proposed revisions to labor laws that are detrimental to workers and will lead to privatization. Trade unions in India have launched nationwide strikes and demonstrations against government’s decision to allow businesses to hire fixed term employees which threatens workers’ job security. Numerous protests have also been launched around the world calling for increases in the minimum wage. These actions expose the bankruptcy of the capitalist system and its neoliberal policy.
Karl Marx has laid it down correctly. “Workers of the world, unite. We have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win.” And as we commemorate the International Labor Day, let us be true to Marx’s teachings and link up our class and democratic struggles worldwide against imperialism and all local reaction. This is our persistent struggle that will lead to the downfall of the crisis-ridden capitalist system and open the path towards a bright, socialist future.
Long live International Labor Day!
Long live the working-class and laboring peoples!