“Unionism is not terrorism.”
On January 29, around 1 p.m., soldiers from the 66th IBPA & 25th IBPA gathered the residents of Sitio Pogi, Brgy. San Miguel, Compostela, and presented names of civilians they alleged to have links and tasks in the revolutionary NPA, including some union leaders of a banana company, namely Roland Cobrado, Perlita Milallos, and Elmer Atamosa.
“DCMM agency does not exercise control over the performance of the work of the said employees. Neither does it own the products and the equipment used in production.”
“If not for our collective action, management would not be forced to provide some of our demands.”
Esperidion Cabaltera, president of the MWLU-II-NAFLU-KMU, ascribed their victory to the “unified resoluteness and courage of the workers” who, he said, have long been experiencing injustices in Musahamat.
She entered the National Labor Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) as a graduating student doing her practicum for a secretarial course; little did she know then that she would learn more than doing office work.
“The DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) is sleeping on the case of Musahamat workers and it can no longer pretend that nothing is happening. By being silent, it is being complicit in the apparent campaign to silence the workers in Pantukan by any means possible, including murder.”
“The point of a new CBA is to improve the wages and benefits of employees but it seems the management does not want anything better for us. If the employees are treated well, they would be more productive and the company will also benefit.”
When workers try to exercise their rights to hold mass actions and strikes to secure better wages and working conditions, they are labeled or tagged as communist supporters or trouble makers, are brutally dispersed from their picketline, and are harassed with “trumped up” legal cases.
Everywhere, restrictions on workers forming genuine unions have prompted them to do union organizing in an “underground” or clandestine way, at least, at first.
“When workers in Indonesia demand a wage hike, employers threaten them: ‘We would relocate to China.’ In China, employers threaten workers that they would relocate their factory to Vietnam. In Vietnam, employers threaten workers they would relocate to Cambodia. In Cambodia, employers threaten workers that they would relocate to Bangladesh.” – Asia Monitor Resource Center
See also: Indonesian workers battle high prices, low wages despite producing oil, registering growth rates