Broad labor coalition holds indignation rally, blames labor secretary for violent dispersal, demands new policies against contractualization and the assumption of jurisdiction

Today hundreds of workers belonging to the broad labor coalition Manggagawa Kontra sa Kontraktwalisasyon at Assumption of Jurisdiction or KONTRA trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to protest the violent dispersal of hunger strikers in front of the DOLE last October 10, 2007 and to press for new policies that would curb contractualization and to stop the indiscriminate use of the Assumption of Jurisdiction powers of the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

Last Wednesday, October 10, 2007, the PNP violently dispersed the union leaders who were holding a hunger strike against contractualization and the indiscriminate use of AJ. Scores were hurt while 7 union leaders, mostly PLDT workers belonging to the Manggagawa ng Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP) were arrested.

Leaders of KONTRA put the blame squarely on Secretary Arturo Brion who they suspect ordered the dispersal. As such, KONTRA leaders are demanding Congress to review the budget of DOLE for 2008.
KONTRA was established in response to the spate of corporate restructuring and mass lay offs aimed not only at replacing regular jobs with various contractual work arrangements devoid of job security, workers’ benefits and union rights but also to destroy unions.

One of the most recent and glaring example of this insidious practice in the dismissal of 575 rank and file workers of PLDT, all of whom are union members. This job-killing exercise comes at a time when the company, which earns an average annual profit of PHP30 billion since 2004, pays its executives and managers an average of PHP 1,800,000 annually excluding an average of PHP1.3 million one time bonus per year and other incentives. 

KONTRA believes that the corporate world is waging a class war against the working class. It is nothing less than corporate terrorism.

Workers’ resistance to corporate terrorism is blunted by the Secretary of Labor and Employment who aids and abets the corporate world by abusing its power to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes and undermine workers’ constitutional right to strike and collectively bargain.
KONTRA therefore demands:

1. That the government stop this corporate terroristic acts of job killings and instead pursue a policy of job preservation consistent with its avowed job creation policy;
2. That the government respect the workers right to strike and engage in concerted actions by abolishing the policy of issuing assumption jurisdiction orders; and,
3. That all workers whose jobs were killed due to redundancies be returned to work or be found decent work and jobs.

KONTRA is the broadest labor coalition formed to date. Among the major labor groups, federations and centers part of the broad alliance are:
ADLO- Association of Democratic Labor; AFW – Alliance of Filipino Workers; AGLO – Assocaitation of Genuine Labor Organization; AIWA- Automotive Industry Workers Association; AMBA-BALA Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Bataan – Bataan Allliance of Labor ; APL – Alliance Of Progressive Labor ; AWATU – All Workers Alliance of Trade Union ;  BMP – Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino ;  BMRCPI / NFL – Buklod ng Manggagawa sa RCPI; DEU- Digitel Employees Union ; DFLU- Duty Free Labor Union ; KKKP – Kapisanan ng mga Kawani ng Koreo sa Pilipinas ; KMM – Kapisanan ng Makabayang Manggagawa ;  KPMP- Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawang Pilipino ;  LAGMAN – Lakas at gabayan ng Manggagawang Nagkakaisa ; Liga ng Manggagawa ; MAKABAYAN Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan  ng Bayan ; MELF- Metro East Labor Federation; Metro Bank Employees Union – ALU ; MEWA – Meralco Electric Workers Union ;  MKP – Manggagawa ng Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas; NABU – National Association of Broadcast Union; NAFLU – National Federation of Labor Union;  NATU – National Association of Trade Union ; NLU- National Labor Union; NUBE – National Union of Bank Employees; NUWHRAIN – National union of Workers in Hotel and Restaurant Industry; PALEA – PAL Employees Association;  PEUP – Postal Employees Union of the Philippines; PM – Partido Manggagawa ; PSSLU – Public Social Security Labor Union;  SUPER – Solidarity of Union in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms ; UFSW – United Filipino Service Workers ;  UIF-NLM – Union Impresores de Filipinas – NLM ;  UNI-PLC – Union Network International – Philippine Liaison Committee; WSN – Workers Solidarity Network

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