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Port workers air holiday demand: New TOR before New Year amid takeover of North Harbor

The struggle for job security and union recognition in the face of the port’s privatization knows no holiday as North Harbor workers stormed today Malacañang to assert job security by demanding a clear Terms of Reference (TOR) from private corporations which are about to take over the port in January.

Staging a protest action in Mendiola two days before Christmas, workers under the Alliance of Port/Transport Workers and Porters – North Harbor (APTWP-NH) and Kilusang Mayo Uno hit winning bidders Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc (HCPTI) for pushing a TOR that “hides the retrenchment plan in its vagueness, causing woes this Christmas season.”

“We demand that Mr. Manny Pangilinan of MPIC and Mr. Regis Romero of HCPTI dialogue with the North Harbor workers and residents as represented by their alliance and come up with a clear TOR that will serve the interests of these constituents before the New Year,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

Labog said that up to now, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the private companies continue to speak in vague terms regarding the workers’ demand for zero job cut and non-demolition of houses in the port areas when privatization goes full-swing.

 

“The demands of the port workers and residents are clear: no to layoffs and yes to security of tenure, no to demolition of houses and yes to absorption of vendors in the new port setup. The agreements should be inscribed in a new TOR, so the workers and residents will have something to hold on to,” Labog said.

 

“The workers and residents have been of service to the port for so long a time now. They do not deserve to be thrown away like old rags after rendering service to the port. That would be barbarity in the name of so-called ‘modernization,’” he added.

Around 5,000 workers and 2,000 vendors in North Harbor risk losing jobs due to the port’s turnover to the private sector. Also, at least 30,000 residents in the port area face displacement with the road-widening project, which is part of the “modernization” plan.

“We demand that the dialogue be held immediately, for people fear losing their jobs, residence and livelihood even as the country celebrates Christmas and welcomes the New Year,” Labog said. 

KMU said the series of protest actions launched by port workers since September should be enough for the winning bidders to change the existing TOR and for the Arroyo regime to halt the impending mass layoff.

“Their big mobilization today is a political statement. The workers and residents of North Harbor are ready to escalate their struggle for job security, abode and livelihood. They will not wait until the PPA and the new bidders have already robbed them of their basic rights. They will fight and they deserve our support,” Labog said.

KMU said privatization bids have been pursued since the Aquino administration as part of the policies dictated by US-dominated institutions like the World Bank to cut back on workforce and deregulate flow of profits. #

 

Reference Person: 
Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information: 
0929-629-3234

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