The enactment of RA 9481 is a clear victory for the working class and for the trade union movement!
Coming at a time when workers are drowning in a sea of continuing repression and political uncertainty, at a time when workers continue to struggle against the onslaught of falling living standards and skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, a law that strengthens the workers’ right to organize and form unions is indeed a very positive development. After all, unions remain as workers’ primary instrument to defend and advance their collective rights.
The new law, designated as Republic Act 9481, will go a long way in helping the labor movement increase its mass membership and widen its capacities to defend and advance workers’ rights and welfare.
But even before the RA 9481 could be implemented, the Secretary of Labor is already threatening to emasculate the new law through the issuance of a more restrictive Implementing Rules and Regulations (IIR), as well as introduction of amendments during the 14th Congress!
The APL warns against any attempts on the part of the Executive to defeat this hard-won gain. Any moves to nullify this gain, labor will be monitoring and will surely find common ground to oppose it.
Instead of scheming to revert this gain, Malacañang is better advised to focus on other urgent labor bills that also need action, such as the continuing call for a legislated and nationwide wage increase.
The historic struggle of workers in the country will enter a new and brighter chapter. Although more needs to be done, there’s great reason for us to celebrate and thank all those who made this victory possible. After all, this is the first time in many years that the labor movement has succeeded in substantially changing the law in favor of the working class!