Paid ad on North Harbor privatization a slander on our collective struggle for job security
- Thousands of port workers storm Palace anew for job security
- Ports Authority, Manny Pangilinan told: Disclose North Harbor plans
- KMU slams entry of security forces in North Harbor days before takeover
- Itigil ang panlilinlang! Dinggin ang aming panawagan!
- Port workers air holiday demand: New TOR before New Year amid takeover of North Harbor
Since we have intensified our protests for job security amidst the privatization of North Harbor, we have been witnessing an intensified media offensive favoring the joint venture of Harbor Centre and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC), the winning bidder in this privatization deal.
After thousands of North Harbor workers and residents marched to Mendiola last Sept. 15, promises of more jobs in North Harbor came out in some tabloids. Today, we read with disgust “So the public may know the lies and the truth,” a paid advertisement by the so-called Alyansa para sa Pagbabago at Modernisasyon ng North Harbor or APMNH for short.
These propaganda lies are trying to mislead the North Harbor workers, residents in nearby communities, and the general public. We issue our clarification because we North Harbor workers know the issue, as it will concretely affect us.
APMNH ignores the historical experience of the Filipino workers and people with privatization. Privatization has always meant the massacre of jobs in this country. It has meant the end of security of tenure and the disappearance of benefits for workers.
APMNH ignores the record of Harbor Centre, which is a “Harbor of Contractualization.” Its contractual workers receive low pay for difficult work and are prevented from forming or joining unions. There are no workers’ unions in Harbor Centre, as its management has sabotaged every attempt by workers to set up unions in its company. There are even reported cases of Harbor Centre’s non-payment of SSS benefits, as it pushes the agencies to pay for its workers’ SSS benefits.
There are two main ways by which North Harbor workers may lose jobs with privatization. First, the two corporations will surely bring in its workers and office staff for various works. Second, the joint venture will undertake a computerization of the various functions in the port. These could only mean massive layoffs of port workers.
APMNH says that the statement “The workers will lose their jobs once modernization starts” is a lie. It is trying to deceive North Harbor workers, residents of nearby communities and the Filipino people. North Harbor workers may not be laid off immediately after the private sector’s takeover. The Terms of Reference for the bidding process, however, says that the job security of North Harbor workers will be recognized only for two years after the awarding of the contract to the winning bidder.
We believe that Harbor Centre and MPIC are behind this intensifying propaganda offensive. If it really wants to assure North Harbor workers that we won’t be laid off because of the privatization, it doesn’t have to waste much money for this propaganda offensive. All it has to do is change the Terms of Reference and remove the limit to the stay of North Harbor workers once the contract is awarded to the winning bidder.
This propaganda offensive makes us even more anxious of the motives of Harbor Centre. It shows that the two corporations really don’t want to recognize the rights and interests of the North Harbor workers. It wants to deceive us workers, residents of nearby communities and the Filipino people so that it may easily implement the anti-worker schemes that it has prepared.
We vow to intensify our protests once the contract is formally awarded to the joint venture. The thousands that mobilized last September 15 is not even half of our membership. We have to remind the joint venture of our strength: We can close down the port if we decide to. It has to stop deceiving the public. It has to act now on our demands. ###
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