“We are very hopeful that the workers’ fight will someday lead to victory as we unite with other sectors. This night of gathering and sharing our struggle proves that the state of workers in the country is not improving. Through this event, we find support in each other struggles.”
By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
MANILA — To express solidarity and gather funds for the ongoing strike in Canlubang, Laguna of Pepmaco workers, a benefit concert at Catch 272, Quezon City was organized by Artists of BPO Unite for Social Change (AUX) together with BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) and other worker’s rights activists, August 4.
The benefit concert was in support for the ongoing struggles of Pepmaco and Nutri-Asia workers for regularization, and decent wages. All the collections will go to the workers.
Performers included Rest Day Radio, AUX Lit Comm, NFT, Tubaw, Sining Obrero, KM64, Musikang Bayan, Pasada, and The General Strike.
Christine Gudoy, secretary general of Pepmaco Workers Union, said the union and management are attending hearings before the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB). However, she said that the hearings focused only on the names of employed workers involved and that the management is still denying some of the union members as their employees.
“Currently, we are collecting pay slips and IDs that will prove that our fellow workers are real employees,” Gudoy said.
“We still don’t know if at the end of these hearings we would get our demands,” Gudoy said.
Gudoy expressed appreciation for AUX for the support they were getting from fellow workers.
“We are very hopeful that the workers’ fight will someday lead to victory as we unite with other sectors. This night of gathering and sharing our struggle proves that the state of workers in the country is not improving. Through this event, we find support in each other struggles,” said Itchi Reyes, secretary general of AUX.
Disappointed but not shocked
The event also became a platform for workers’ rights advocates to express their frustration toward the recently vetoed Security of Tenure bill by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 26.
Mylen Cabalona, president of BIEN, said that the action of the President “only shows that he never prioritized the workers and it reflects the current condition of factory workers.”
Gudoy of Pepmaco workers, said that the vetoed bill was already watered down and the President just made it worse.
Sumifru workers, whose fight against contractualization has forced them to travel from Mindanao to Metro Manila, also attended the benefit concert to express support.
PJ Dixon, a representative from the Sumifru workers, said he personally believed that the bill was not enough to end ENDO but at least the President could have done better.
“He (Duterte) must have signed it at least. Because even though the bill would barely touch the issues we the the workers are facing, it could be a stepping stone to help us,” Dizon said.
Sumifru workers would go back to Mindanao on Tuesday because the company gave notice that they would be hired back but it was not clear if they would be regularized.
Meanwhile, Makabayan bloc filed early today House Bill 3381 that would go against Article 106 of the Labor Code of the Philippines and prohibit all forms of contractualization.