We in the Kilusang Mayo Uno fully support the struggle of the employees of ABS-CBN in its Internal Job Market to form their union and collectively bargain with the ABS-CBN management, and to become regular employees of the television network. We raise our clenched fists in salute to the 92 workers who have been laid off for their participation in and support of the formation of the ABS-CBN IJM Wokers’ Union and who continue to fight for their reinstatement and for the workers’ rights and interests.
The ABS-CBN workers’ struggle is just. They are simply fighting for their basic rights as workers. Through the years, ABS-CBN’s work force has increasingly been contractualized. The overwhelming majority of workers in the television network have been receiving reduced wages and benefits – even as they perform tasks that are similar to what they have been doing before they became contractuals. Their union has been weakened, with the majority of members vulnerable to being laid off without just cause.
When some brave workers stood up to form the ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union, won the support of the majority of the television network’s work force, and filed for a certification election, the ABS-CBN management acted swiftly to attack. It opposed the certification elections on the basis that it has no employer-employee relationship with the IJM workers – a big lie that has only angered the workers. Then it proceeded to terminate workers who are the leaders and supporters of the new union.
The struggle of the ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union highlights the evil plague that is contractualization. With the blessing of the anti-worker Labor Code or Herrera Law, capitalists have increasingly contractualized their work forces. Contractualization went hand-in-hand with the 1990s wave of neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation. Now, contractual workers comprise a big majority of the country’s workers, with the so-called “special economic zones” serving as havens of this scheme.
Contractualization was cooked up by big local and foreign capitalists and upheld by the government in order to press down workers’ wages, repress workers’ unionism, and thereby increase the already immense profits of the big foreign and local comprador capitalists. By eliminating employer-employee relationships, it has rolled back workers’ wages, regular work and trade-union and human rights. It has intensified the exploitation, poverty and hunger being suffered by the Filipino workers and people.
The struggle of the ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union also highlights the greed for profit of the comprador-capitalist Lopez family. It is becoming clear that the Lopez family is able to project itself as an “enlightened” and “socially-responsible” section of the country’s elite because of the profits it has amassed from depressing workers’ wages mainly through contractualization. It has shown that it is capable of making nasty moves to thwart the formation of a workers’ union, especially a militant one, in its main business.
Recently, the Lopez family used the mainstream mass media to brag about ABS-CBN’s P1.9 Billion net income for the first 6 months of this year, bigger that its total net income of P1.7 Billion in 2009. Earning as much in such a short period while pushing down the wage levels of workers through contractualization and busting the workers’ union is simply against the principle of social justice. It is using the mass media to prattle about profits while also using it to impose a news blackout on the issues of contractual workers, of workers’ resistance, and of its anti-worker schemes.
The struggle of the ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union likewise highlights the connivance between the Lopez family, and the comprador capitalist class as a whole, with the government through various regimes. The massive contractualization in the television network was carried out with the legality bestowed upon it by the government. Now, the Lopez family is pulling strings to make various government agencies come up with favorable rulings amidst the legal battles waged by the newly-formed workers’ union.
It is difficult to imagine that the massive retrenchment in one of the country’s top television stations is happening without the knowledge and consent of the government of President Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco-Aquino III. The Lopez family’s ties with the Cojuangcos and Aquinos go a long way back and are a matter of public knowledge. Some workers even say that an official from one of tycoon Danding Cojuangco’s companies was deployed to ABS-CBN to carry out the contractualization scheme there.
In the immediate, we call on the Lopez family: publicize the ABS-CBN workers’ issue and address it fair and square. Do not use your media empire to inflict another injustice on the ABS-CBN workers, especially those who were laid off. Do not bully other media outfits into imposing a news blackout on this issue. We call on President Noynoy: intervene into the ABS-CBN labor dispute openly and take the side of the workers, not secretly and for the Lopez family. This is an important issue for the workers and people.
We urge the ABS-CBN IJM workers to continue being united and to continue fighting. We urge them to make the Lopez family pay for its anti-worker and anti-union schemes by advancing workers’ rights and interests in its main business. We urge them to carry out various forms of activities to strengthen their union. We urge them to carry out propaganda and education campaigns among the ABS-CBN IJM workers. It is only through these steps that we can achieve victories in fighting for our rights and interests.
Immediately reinstate the 92 ABS-CBN IJM workers!
Oppose the Lopez family’s union-busting and intimidation campaigns!
End media blackout on the issue of ABS-CBN workers!
Noynoy – intervene into the ABS-CBN labor dispute, side with the workers!
Fight for decent wages, security of tenure, and trade-union rights!
Long live the Filipino workers and people!