Workers’ March Against Contractualization

Around 500 workers marched to the Bicutan Interchange in South Luzon Expressway today to lend support to dismissed workers of Skyway and to protest the contractualization of regular jobs by the new company that took over the Skyway operations and maintenance.

Unions belonging to Koalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) dubbed today’s action as, “Workers’ March Against Contractualization.” It is part of the Global Week of Action against the World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland.

“Skyway workers are at the forefront of the overall fight against contractual employment. The case of Skyway workers is an instructive example of how regular workers manning the tollway were replaced by contractual workers so that a foreign company like Citra can extract more profits,” Pete Pinlac, President of the PLDT union, Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP) said.

The workers belonging to KONTRA declared that they are standing shoulder to shoulder with at least 800 regular Skyway workers who are fighting against union busting and illegal termination when PNCC Skyway turned over the operations of the tollways to CITRA’s subsidiary Skyway O & M Corporation (SOMCO) last December 31, 2007.

“Contractualization is a scourge,” said Edwin Bustillos, Alliance of Progressive Labor Deputy Secretary General. “It is a destructive practice being employed by capital not only to rake in more profits at the expense of workers’ rights, but more importantly to bust the unions,” he added.

Bustillos said this policy has to stop as it is not only harmful for workers but it also worsens the lingering jobs crisis.

“This is happening not only in Skyway. The practice has spread at an alarming rate as the government continue to promote contractual employment and readily sacrifice workers’ rights and the public good to the altar of corporate interests,” Leody De Guzman, BMP National President, said.

KONTRA held a rally in front of CITRA headquarters in Bicutan and then marched to the Bicutan interchange after the program.

KONTRA is a broad coalition of more than 30 labor federations, workers’ organizations and political organizations that banded together to fight contractualization. KONTRA demands that government labor policies be changed and the Labor Code be amended to disallow contractualization and to provide solid guarantees for workers’ and trade union rights.

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