State pressure causes decline in CBA-covered workers - labor group
Date of publication: September 17, 2009
Source: The Philippine Star
By Dennis Carcamo
MANILA, Philippines -- The number of laborers covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBA) in the country has been reduced by more than half in the last five years, a labor organization disclosed today (Sept. 17).
In a statement, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) chairperson Daniel Edralin said this decline is attributed to the fact that some trade unions are considered by the military as enemies of the state, with prodding of some of anti-union employers.
As of APL's count, Edralin said workers covered by CBAs in the country were cut down to 226,000 from 500,000 five years ago.
"Government should wage a war against poverty, not against trade unions. To end poverty, the government has to end its total war against trade unions, abandon the failed cheap labor policy and completely reform the Labor Code to provide solid guarantees for workers’ and trade union rights," Edralin added.
The APL official said they also welcome the International Labor Organization (ILO) Level Mission to the Philippines that will expose the "repressive labor relations in the country."
The APL, together with other member organizations of Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA), is determined to prove to the ILO High Level Mission that the rampant violations of workers’ fundamental rights to organize, collectively bargain and to strike, are part of the State’s systematic efforts to stifle legitimate dissent and to suppress trade unionism.
"Repression has an economic function — to maintain the cheap labor policy that comes with the flawed export-oriented development promoted by the country’s political and economic elites since the time of the Marcos dictatorship," Edralin said.
KONTRA is composed of APL, Bukluran ng Manggawang Pilipino, Partido Manggagawa, and other unions that have banded together to fight contractualization and the abusive use of assumption of jurisdiction.