Sweaty labor issues

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Friday, May 3, 2013


The nation’s workers took to the streets the past few days and asked for fair and just compensation for their daily labor. Workers in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila staged rallies to gain attention for their demands.

In Metro Manila “thousands of people from the labor coalition Nagkaisa, the youth party-list Kabataan and Kilusang Mayo Uno went to Mendiola--the site of bloody picket of farmers pushing for agrarian reform (in the past)--to protest Aquino’s supposed disregard for the condition of the labor sector.

In Cebu City, “the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said that the issues raised during the rally in Cebu City’s Fuente Osmeña include the need for another wage increase, relief from high power rates, and an end to the use of contractual labor.”

In another rally held by Anakpawis and Bayan-Visayas on Colon St. in downtown Cebu City, the protesters demanded abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) for allegedly conniving with management to stop wage increases.

Indeed, the issues have become quite mixed and complicated. ALU-TUCP has “42 affiliates or local unions from different organizations, including the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (Opascor). Meanwhile, the Department of Labor, Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic Development Authority all belong to the RTWPB. It has two members from the labor and management sectors.

Some 7,000 people reportedly joined the rally from downtown Colon St. to Fuente Osmeña in Cebu, along with rallies in Iloilo, Iligan and Davao, as reported by the PM.

Certain journalist groups also took the occasion to express their sentiments regarding “their working conditions.” The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) said few news organizations have labor unions, or collective bargaining agreements.

In sum, even the media, like the other interested and concerned labor sector in the country, has taken to what I may call as a benign sentiment for the state of the national economy in that it is not aggressively demanding the wages it truly deserves to have. Thus, we can say that despite NUJP’s advantageous position, it has not risen in arms to seek better treatment from their publishers.

However, the Philippines would not be a country of peace and quiet as we are now if the media had taken advantage of its position under a democratic setting. In a way, we are really a nation of meek people who just sit and wait for the goodwill of their politicians.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 03, 2013.

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