Nagkaisa labor groups’ Labor Day demands are now in Aquino’s hands

The eight workers’ issues and non-wage benefits raised by labor group coalition Nagkaisa since May 2012 are now in the hands of President Aquino to act on following a last minute series of meetings with his members of cabinet with the representatives of the group on Wednesday.

Final details of the issues were threshed out in meetings that took place on April 8 with the secretaries of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of 
Trade and Industry (DTI), and on the following day with the Department of Energy (DOE), said Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

“After more than 100 man hours of discussions with different government staffs, undersecretaries and secretaries within the two year period, we think it is more than fair enough to say that the ball 
is in the hands of President Aquino. These issues are now on his table,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP and a convenor of Nagkaisa.

The issues that were finalized by the Nagkaisa and the cabinet level are for government to (1) ensure security of tenure of workers by eliminating contractualization scheme and deter extra-judicial killing 
of union organizers and journalists, (2) provide exemption and enhancement on minimum wage taxation, (3) institutionalize core labor standards in the agro-industrial plan, (4) lowering of the cost of 
electricity and protect consumers from the cartelization of power, (5) provide affordable housing program and non-violent transfer of urban poor communities from danger zones, (7) ratification of ILO Convention 
151–a convention concerning protection of the right to organize and procedures for determining conditions for employment in the government service, and (8) ensure a jobs-led and workers’ sector participation 
in the planning and implementation of programs of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas.

The group also expects Aquino to make an unequivocal commitment to his promised regular dialogue with Nagkaisa on emergent issues affecting the working class.

Labor groups in Nagkaisa were always dismayed at Aquino’s alleged disconnect with workers’ issues raised by Nagkaisa every time he meets with labor group representatives in the traditional labor day 
breakfast since 2010 in Malacanang palace.

“If we want to emphasize how important these issues are to labor groups in Nagkaisa, well, we have expended substantial amount of unions’ financial and manpower resources for these meetings toenlighten executives the need for government to address these issues that endangers Filipino workers and their families today. As representatives of workers, we have done our part in transmitting 
these concerns to the administration. We will now observe very closely how the president will respond to these issues and how he treats the working people on or before May 1 Labor day,” said Frank Mero,chairperson of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

However, the group emphasized Nagkaisa will proceed with their Labor day activities regardless of Aquino’s response.

“With or without President Aquino’s imprimatur on these issues, Nagkaisa labor groups will go on with our May 1 Labor day simultaneous activities nationwide. President Aquino may chose or not chose to favorably or unfavorably respond to some or to all issues we have raised to his attention, he has that choice. But Nagkaisa will pursue resolution of the issues at will whatever the cost and in any possible way because these issues are legitimate and important for workers,” added Wilson Fortaleza, spokesman of the Partido Manggagawa.

Aside from ALU, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), PM and Sentro, there are 47 other member labor federation and workers’ organizations in Nagkaisa. It was established in April 2011, the other members of Nagkaisa includes Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Government Empoyees Association 
(PGEA), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU) and KAMAO.

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