A new alliance of some 40 major trade unions and labor federations have united to advance trade union and workers’ rights in the Philippines.
Aptly called NAGKAISA (united), the newly-established network of labor organizations vowed to fight labor contractualization, advocate for security of tenure and fight for an across-the-board increase in workers’ pay.
“After a series of in-depth discussions, we, the leaders and members of major labor and trade unions and workers’ organizations in the country have mutually decided to be united by embracing our diversity,” said the group in a statement during a media conference in Manila today.
Philippine labor has been generally regarded as fragmented, but NAGKAISA is bent on changing that impression and ushering in a new era in Philippine labor.
“In the face of the prevalent anti-worker environment and given our diverse ideologies, methodologies and approaches, our unions have continued to champion workers’ right to organize, to collectively bargain, to hold strikes and to engage government in social dialogue, but with limited success. We believe that the Filipino workers can be empowered again by, first and foremost, united action among unions and workers’ organizations.” NAGKAISA said.
“We are forming the coalition called NAGKAISA, which will consistently and passionately work towards restoring the right to full protection and the chance to live a decent and dignified life for all Filipino working men and women—whether formal or informal, private or public, here or abroad,” the group added.
NAGKAISA is challenging deregulation and other policies that lead to perpetual increases of oil prices and cost of food, electricity and other utilities and basic services such as education, in order to provide immediate relief to the economic burden of workers.
“Workers’ struggle for decent work is being defeated by greedy employers’ blatant assault on their rights. Their chances to it are being deprived by the Philippine government’s labor, social and economic policies that always function in favor of local and foreign businesses,” NAGKAISA said.
The group is also pressing for the ratification of ILO Convention 189 or the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention.
NAGKAISA, as one voice of labor, will actively engage industry and all branches of government at all levels in meaningful and progressive social dialogue to improve the plight of workers.
“If necessary, NAGKAISA will be holding decisive mass actions to bring these issues closer to and wield support from the people,” the group said.
NAGKAISA will hold a rally on Labor Day in Manila, where it plans to mobilize some 40,000 workers.
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