Massive Layoffs Signal Global Depression

The way forward

Despite the government’s claims at “safeguarding” the workers “amidst the global storm”, the people and the ordinary workers will evidently be made to bear the brunt of the crisis. But, safeguarding workers’ welfare amid the crisis should be concrete – such as through wage hikes and price controls – which could soften the shock on dwindling incomes and falling living standards. A serious evaluation of the job generation scheme of the government should also be made to refocus the country to national industrialization, which would push economic capacity and accelerate job creation.

Safeguarding workers’ welfare is also being consciously advanced by the workers themselves. In a landmark victory in 2008, women workers of Bleustar Manufacturing and Marketing Corporation (BMMC), maker of Advan shoes, have struggled against sexual harassment in the workplace and for better working conditions through building their union. Through a strike, they have asserted their rights. Workers of the Kowloon Restaurant along West Avenue in Quezon City were able to secure an initial victory after four months of strike. The National Labor Relations Commission, in its decision dated December 22, ordered the reinstatement of all dismissed workers with full back wages.

Amidst the rising storm of a global economic depression unprecedented since the 1930s, only the workers’ own concerted actions to better their lot offer any glimmer of hope. The following years will certainly be a landmark of sorts in the history of workers’ struggles not only in the Philippines, but also in other parts of the globe. Posted by (

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