Justice for the victims of the Luisita massacre! Fight trade-union repression!
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Today, we mark the 8th year of the Hacienda Luisita massacre with a march to Malacañang. We are revolted that after eight years, justice has not been served over this gruesome crime and that trade-union repression continues to this day. We unite with all workers around the world who are marking this day with protests as part of the International Day of Action Against Trade-Union Repression.
We condemn the Aquino-Cojuangco landowning family for the massacre, which killed seven and wounded more than a hundred people. We condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino for blocking the struggle for justice for the massacre’s victims. We condemn both the Aquino-Cojuangco family and the Aquino government for delaying and trying to undermine the long-overdue distribution of Luisita’s lands to farmers.
The Labor secretary’s power to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes, which served as license for the massacre in Luisita, remains enshrined in the Labor Code. It was used by no less than Pres. Aquino in the Philippine Airlines labor dispute. It is a most repressive instrument against workers’ strikes and other forms of protests. For stopping workers from holding protests, threatening workers with retrenchment and criminal cases, and bringing the military and police in workplaces, the AJ power should be junked immediately.
Trade-union repression continues under the Aquino government. Policies that restrict the creation of unions are still in place. Workers who are trying to form unions and union leaders who stand up for workers’ rights are laid off from work. The new Two-Tiered Wage System enables capitalists to strengthen their control over workers through the promise of a productivity-based increase. Trade-union activists and leaders are slapped with trumped-up charges and face threats to their lives and safety. Places with a concentration of workers and unions are militarized.
Meager wages, the issue over which Luisita farm workers held a strike in 2004, continue to affect workers across the country. The Aquino government has refused to significantly hike wages, rejecting calls for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide. It has even implemented the Two-Tiered Wage System that imposes a wage cut and wage freeze while forcing workers to work more. It promotes contractualization and trade-union repression in order to further press down wages. It implements the K+12 program in education that aims to churn out cheap labor for big capitalists.
The Aquino government is clearly anti-worker and pro-capitalist. It deserves nothing but the organized and militant opposition of the country’s workers and poor people.
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