NYCHRP Supports the Striking Workers of NutriAsia, Jollibee, and PLDT; Calls for the Regularization of Workers and an Increase to the National Minimum Wage

July 6, 2018

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Supports the Striking Workers of NutriAsia,  Jollibee, and PLDT; Calls for the Regularization of Workers and an Increase to the National Minimum Wage

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Infographic from Kilusang Mayo Uno

July 3, 2018, the workers of NutriAsia, allied under Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia (United Workers of NutriAsia, NMN), called out an urgent alert as the Philippine National Police prepared to carry out a dispersal order from the Philippine government. The dispersal order comes in the wake of attacks on workers all over the Philippines, including an order from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the Philippines, to end its subcontractors, placing many workers in a limbo status. NYCHRP supports the undeterred spirit of the workers to struggle for better conditions, and support their calls for the end to contractualization (the practice of laying off workers every 4 to 6 months), a raise in minimum wage, and a genuinely free Philippines.

According to a Department of Labor report in May of 2018, Jollibee Foods Corporation and PLDT are ranked #1 and #3 with 14,960 workers and 8,310 workers affected. These estimates may even be undercounting the overall number of contractual workers considering that it counts the numbers by legal entity, as opposed to looking at the network of corporations associated with a particular brand. The same report counts DOLE Philippines, Inc. as #2 with 10,521 workers affected while DOLE-Stanfilco, a clear subsidiary or affiliate of DOLE, is ranked 20th with 1,131 workers affected.

Attempting to take advantage of the loopholes left behind by the Department of Labor and President Duterte’s claim to end contractualization, PLDT severed ties with many of its subcontractors, laying off 7,000 workers. Just a few months ago, NutriAsia similarly laid off many of its workers as their short-term contracts ended. The same fate occurred to workers of Jollibee in this same span of time.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes the right of each individual to work. Article 7 protects their right just and favorable conditions of work, including a decent living for workers and their families. The contractualization of Filipino workers and the widespread wage rates of under $10 a day violate the spirit of these protections. In the Philippines, commodity prices are increasing while wages remain stagnant. As a result, many Filipino workers are forced to leave their communities and families behind. Moreover, about three-quarters of the country are farm workers or peasants, people obligated to big landlords to do labor and, in some cases, pay off debt. Contractualization, low wages, and the semi-feudal, semi-colonial economy of the Philippines are fundamental violations of the people’s rights.

NYCHRP supports the leadership of workers to form workers organizations and fight against these conditions and the continued neo-colonization of the Philippines. NMN, PLDT Organization of Workers and Employees for Rights (POWER), Defend Job Philippines, and Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement, KMU) are among the many organizations of workers leading worker strikes, worker occupations, and demonstrations across the country. We condemn the government’s response to these strikes by calling dispersals. We affirm that the workers are well within their rights to organize and form trade unions.

NYCHRP also supports the call for a genuine democracy in the Philippines, where workers and all peoples determine and uphold the rights to quality of life, land, and opportunity. Until the conditions of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and semi-feudalism in the Philippines are abolished, the Philippines will not truly be free.

 

End Contractualization!

P750 Minimum Wage!

National Industrialization and Agrarian Reform for All!

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