[Repost] Sa Mayo Uno, sa pandaigdigang araw ng mga mangaggawa, sigaw ng mga kababaihan: welga!

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Titigil ang mundo kapag tumigil ang kababaihan!

*Igiit ang pagkakapantay sa sahod, itigil ang karahasang nakabatay sa kasarian, at iba pang isyu*

*Panawagan para sa Pandaigdigang Welga ng mga Kababaihan sa Marso 8, 2020*

01 Mayo 2019
Manila, Philippines

Sa darating na Mayo Uno, mariing ipinanawagan ng mga peminista, iba’t ibang grupo ng mga kababaihan at ng mga kilusang nagsusulong ng panlipunang hustisya ang matagal nang minimithi ng mga kababaihan – isang mundo na makatarungan at may pagkakapantay-pantay, na may nakabubuhay na sahod, pantay na sahod, walang karahasang nakabatay sa kasarian, sagana at may sapat na pagkain para sa lahat, at karapatan at pamamahala sa mga rekurso at kabuhayan ng lipunan.

Nananatiling tagibang ang pag-unlad ng mundo, nakapako sa galaw ng merkado at sa indibidwalismo, pagpapalaki ng kita, pribatisasyon ng pampublikong serbisyo, habang ang mga malalaking korporasyon ay pinoprotektahan sa pamamagitan ng maliit na buwis, mga konsesyon at pautang. “Ang ganitong kaayusan ay sinusuhayan ng sistematikong pagsasamantala sa mga kababaihan na nakakatanggap ng mababang sahod para mapalobo ang kita ng kapitalista, pagkatali sa gawaing bahay at kawalan ng kompensasyon para dito, at ang pagkawalay nila sa mga proseso ng pagdedesisyon sa pampulitika, panlipunan at pang-ekonomiyang aspeto ng lipunan. Nilalabanan naming ang pang-aagaw ng lupa ng mga korporasyon mula sa mga mamamayan, na nagnanakaw ng kabuhayan n mga magsasakang kababaihan. Nais naming magwelga sa buong mundo para itigl ang pang-ekonomiyang pagsasamantala sa mga kababaihan,” ani Fatima Burnad, mula sa Tamil Nadu Women’s Federation ng India.

Sa buong daigdig, ang sahod ng mga kababaihan ay 37 porsyentong mas mababa kaysa mga kalalakihan at kailangan pa ng 202 taon para pumantay ang sahod ng kababaihan sa kalalakihan. “Sa mga bansang naghihikahos, 2/3 ng mga kababaihan ang nasa impormal na ekonomya, kung saan kulang o walang tinatamasang proteksyong panlipunan at karapatang ligal. Bukod dito, masyadong maliit ang kanilang kinikita at nananatiling mahirap ang kanilang kalagayan. Kailangan nang wakasan ang ganitong kaayusan. Gusto naming ng disenteng trabaho, nakabubuhay na sahod at pagkilala sa karapatang mag-organisa ng kababaihang manggagawa,” dagdag ni Daisy Arago ng Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), ng Pilipinas.

Tinatantyang nasa 35 porsyento ng mga kababaihan sa buong mundo ang nakaranas ng sekswal na pang-aabuso at may isa sa apat na babae ang nakaranas ng pang-aabusong sekswal sa pagawaan. Ayon kay Ivy Josiah, peminista at dating Executive Director ng Women’s Aid Organisation sa Malaysia, “ nasa tamang panahon na para magkaroon ng mga progresibong hakbang para isulong at ihulma ang mundong malaya ang mga kababaihan mula sa karahasan at pang-aabuso. Ang pandaigdigang welga ng mga kababaihan ay nananawagan sa lahat ng gobyerno sa mundo na pagtibayin ang ILO Convention and Recommendation on Ending Violence and Harassment noong ika-108th na pagpupulong ng ILO sa Hunyo 2019. Kinakailangang umaksyon ang mga gobyerno sa kanilang mga pangako na mapatigil ang karahasan laban sa mga kababaihan.”

Ang karapatan ng mga kababaihan sa kilusang paggawa ay nakaugat sa kasaysayan ng pandaigdigang araw ng mga kababaihan at sa pakikibaka ng mga kababaihan na makilahok sa paggawa ng kasaysayan kapantay ng mga kalalakihan. “Namumuhay tayo sa isang mapanganib na mundo kung saan ang peminismo o ang karapatang pantao ng mga kababaihan are tinatanggalan ng pampulitikang halaga at ‘pink-washing’ sa paglaganap ng mga terminong ‘women’s economic empowerment’ o kahit ‘feminist foreign policy.’ Ito ang ginagawa bilang porma ng pampulitikang manipulasyon. An gating pagkakaisa at kolektibong pakikibaka bilang mga kababaihan ay ang ating pag-asa at tugon sa paglaban sa patriyarkiya, pundamentalismo, kapitalismo at militarism. Kaya kami ay nananawagan ng pandaigdigang welga ng mga kababaihan sa susunod na taon!,” sabi ni Misun Woo, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Thailand.

Inilunsad din ng koalisyon ang website para sa kampanya, womensglobalstrike.com. Ang website na ito ang mapagkukunan ng impormasyon para sa kampanya, kung paano makakalahok ang mga kababaihan at mga aksyon para sa pandaigdigang welga.

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Women WISE Holds Livelihood Skills Workshop with Sumifru Women Workers

On March 9, 2019, Women WISE3 held a Livelihood Skills Sharing Workshop with women workers of NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU at their protest camp in Liwasang Bonifacio (Manila). These workers have been on strike against multinational banana plantation Sumifru since October 2018.

The women unionists learned how to make detergent powder, fabric conditioner and dishwashing soap. These skills could hopefully help their families, somehow, as they continue their struggle for their rights. 

#StandwithSumifruWorkers
#DefendtheCamp

 

WOMEN FIGHTING BACK: Filipino Women Workers’ Stories of Struggle and Survival

Dati, ang madalas na pantawid gutom namin ay yung lugaw na tinda sa may kanto, may isang itlog. Minsan may laman din kapag may badyet. Pero ngayon, sa taas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at sa hirap humanap ng trabaho, kalahating lugaw na lang ang kinakaya. Wala nang itlog at lalong wala nang karne,” Gina says on how Duterte’s TRAIN Law affected her family’s day-to-day living since the law implemented on January 2018.

(Before, we often have a bowl of porridge in the corner street, to calm our hunger, with boiled egg and sometimes with innards if we had budget. Today, with the high commodity prices and difficulty to find jobs, we can only afford half bowl of porridge, sans egg and meat)

Gina Petes, 52 years old, worked as a machine operator for 18 years in Donewell Plastics, the largest supplier of plastic products in Metro Manila and the country. She remained contractual, paid P280 (US $0.5.38) daily, while working for 12 hours a day in the company for 18 years.

In 2017 she was illegally dismissed. The management said that they had to let her go because as she gets older, she worked slower and failed to reach their quotas. She works in whatever jobs accept her.

Gina filed a complaint against Donewell Plastics Corp. at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). At first, it seemed impossible to win the case, but with her perseverance and with sufficient knowledge about her rights she gained through the activities of organization, Women WISE3, she won and got her severance pay.

Meanwhile, Mae was not as`fortunate’ as Gina. Mae used to work at W.L. Foods Corporation – one of the biggest snack foods company in the country. In 2013, she got into an accident in the production area that cut her arm while inspecting a machine. The company did not cover her hospitalization. She filed a complaint at the Labor Department, but lost.  “Nakakalungkot na literal na buwis-buhay ang magtrabaho dito sa atin. Hindi makatao ang pagtrato at walang disenteng sahod ang mga manggagwa.” (Its sad that to work here in our country is costing life. Workers are treated inhumanely and are not paid decently.) Since then, she’s unable to land a stable job.

Gina and Mae are like  most women workers today, battling everyday to keep their meager income from unstable and unsafe jobs intact from attacks of skyrocketing prices. Access to healthy and sufficient food has not been the same since Duterte’s  TRAIN Law rammed into their already impoverished lives.

Urgent Call to Organize

Gina knows well that it if she did not join Women WISE3, she could not have won her case.  Thus, she and her other female colleagues, reached out to others,  equipped themselves with understanding through attending seminars and other activities where they learned more about their rights as workers and as women. They actively campaigned against Duterte’s TRAIN Law and for the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Act . They all rejoiced when EML was finally enacted into law last February. “This is a victory for all women. We, ourselves, may no longer be able to reap the benefit of this new law, but we are proud that we are part of those who pushed for it,” Gina shares.

The work is not over yet. Many women workers are not enlisted by their employers to the Social Security System (SSS) despite 18 years work, like Gina. And SSS, with all its flaws is mandatory and basic social protection any worker can get. And yet, business owners were not pleased with the EML law, saying it is an added liability for women workers. They, in fact call it “anti-women,” as they warn that it will probably result to more discrimination against women, as they had been doing for many years. Women are not only discriminated in pay, but in employment opportunities. There are factories who fire pregnant women and others simply refuse to hire mothers.

The Social Security System (SSS), as if acting on cue, with Duterte signing EML into law, announced that it is raising the SSS contributions under the pretext of increasing the longevity of the semi-state insurance agency. The announcement drew flak, but still, it is going ahead with its decision.

“We will resist this new plan, as we know the SSS has billions in uncollected contributions from the company/ employers. Why burden us?  They should prioritize this, instead of adding new burden to members,” Malou Santos, Women WISE3 Chairperson says. “The priority now is to push the campaign for enlistment of all workers into all these social protection benefits, SSS, Philhealth and housing, as mandated by law. These are state corporations, corporatizing the workers’ money, and excluding workers especially women from a tiny benefits they can get from these funds is multiplying their exploitation. State should provide, social protection”, Santos added.

On International Women’s Day, Women WiSE3salutes women workers like Gina and Mae who continue to strive for a better future, not only for their own families, but for all. “We must act now, to make all the changes happen now, not in the future,” Santos asserted.

Santos also reminds that as mid-term elections, approaches, let us not forget those candidates who voted for TRAIN Law, for Rice Tarriffication Law that floods our country with cheaper imported rice, while our farmers are dying of hunger. She challenged all other candidates by walking their talk, in job protection, by intervening, supporting and addressing the demands of Sumitomo Fruit Corp workers who had travelled from Mindanao driven by militarization and Martial Law and been camping out in Manila for four months now.

“Duterte led many of us to believe that the workers conditions will be improved for the better. It was all lies. His misogynistic remarks are patent, that insulted more women, but led us to organize more. We will not be fooled again, by a government, who believed that honesty is not fundamental in governance,” Santos ended.

 

WOMEN WORKERS JOIN CALLS TO JUNK SB 1521

Last August 21, 2017, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 6152 or the Compressed Work Week Bill. The proposed bill increases the normal workday to more than 8 hours but not to exceed 12 hours for four days, without corresponding overtime premium.

The Senate Committee on Labor also started tackling its counterpart bill, the Senate Bill 1571, which also pushes for the institutionalization of compressed work week and other flexible working schemes.

JpegOn the National Day of Protest for Decent Work, women workers under Women WISE3 calls to junk and oppose the Senate Bill 1571. This proposal is an outright betrayal of the workers’ historical victory, especially women, in fighting for an 8-hour workday not only in the Philippines but internationally. Women workers have played a significant role in that struggle.

The Haymarket Square Affair of 1886 in Chicago Illinois is one of the most significant events in history that led to the victory of the struggle for 8-hour working hours. Tens of thousands of workers protested for their rights especially for the shortening of the working hours. Women workers were part of that significant event. In fact, a woman was one of its leaders – Lucy Parsons. She organized women sewing workers and was one of the valiant leaders of the demonstration. 4 workers died in that protest and many others were arrested to suppress the fight of the workers. Until today, it is being commemorated every May 1 or the International Workers’ Day.

Passing the Compressed Work Week Bill will take away the victory won by women and workers around the world and bring back slave labor.

Majority of workers in electornics and garments are womenWomen workers are still suffering today. They have less access to decent and stable employment, more vulnerable to different forms of discrimination including lesser wage than male, sexual violence at work and exposed to different kinds of accidents and illnesses. The recent PSA Statistics on Decent Work in fact says that more women (20.8% of employed persons) are working excessive hours in their primary jobs.

These proposed bills that legalize the current widespread company practices of forcing workers to work beyond 8 hours, will not be, in any way, beneficial to women workers. In fact, women workers struggling with double burden, taking care for the family and at work will be hardest hit if this will be passed into law. It will expose them more to precarious working conditions, reduced income, and family time. Long working hours have already caused them stress, fatigue, reproductive problems and other illnesses that negatively affect family relationship and childcare.

Women WISE3 asserts that the claims of the proponents of this bill that the compressed work week will give workers a work-life balance and will make them more productive is deceptive. How can they be productive when they will be forced to work long hours while they lose their overtime pay and part of their supposed daily wages.

Instead of pushing for a law that would further exploit the workers, the government should hold accountable abusive companies and employers. Flexible working conditions are not new to women workers. In Valenzuela, 64.2% of the workers are made to work 12 hours per day, 7 days a week. This What’s worse is that there are some who are not even paid overtime pay at all. This early, some companies in Valenzuela are now informing workers about CWW and had changed the wage system, from daily paid to piece rate. A young woman worker said, she ended up receiving only Php80 for 12-hour work. Similarly, workers in companies in special economic zones are subjected to forced overtime work as they are made to work for 12 or more hours per day.

Recently, the government announced a P21 increase in minimum wage in Metro Manila. Women WISE3 looks at this is a lame attempt to tame opposition to the compressed work week particularly in Metro Manila. This is also divisive as workers like those in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) whose wage is the lowest at Php255 (US$5) has not given an increase in the last two years. The wage increase in Metro Manila is also a cover up on how the government turned its back to the workers and bared its pro-capitalist nature. It passed the deceptive DOLE DO 174, continues the repression of labor unions, failed to end contractualization and implement a national minimum wage. This measly increase is far from what the workers need and demand.

Women WISE3calls on the Senate to junk the SB 1571 and instead, forward legislation that will eliminate abusive labor practices, especially contractualization. The group also calls on women workers to unite defend eight (8) hours work, reclaim the rights taken from them and frustrate attempts to send them back to slavery and forced labor.#

 

 

 

 

Women WISE3: Where’s the promised CHANGE?

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Strong promises of genuine change by the new administration, especially the pledge to end contractualization is rapidly slipping from government priorities.  Filipino workers continue suffer with the dire working conditions in the country – long working hours, low wages, unstable jobs, unsafe working conditions while businesses are given so much leeway, so as not to antagonize them with the workers’ demand for the government to deliver its promises.

Even in the eve of the celebration of International Working Women Day, the government chose to keep businesses happier at the expense of workers.  To protest such inaction and reclaim the gains of women movement worldwide, Women Workers in Struggle for Employment, Empowerment and Emancipation (Women WISE3) in solidarity with all women in the world marched together with women workers, peasants and other sectors for jobs, land, justice and peace.

The relentless violent pursuit of small criminal offenders, alleged drug addicts and pushes resulting to 7,000 deaths, did not make a dent on reducing poverty and uplifting the poor.  A recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in fact reveals that the number of jobless Filipinos rose to 11.2 million (25.1%) in December 2016 from 8.2 million (18.4%) in September 2016, 3 million more unemployed in just 3 months.

Women workers remain more vulnerable to these conditions, as they continue to have lesser access to employment. The recent government data in fact, affirms that 29.2% of women or 9.5 million women are economically inactive and not included in the labor force.

Household or family duties while foundation to family survival and existence, remain unrecognized, as they are unpaid and not even considered work.  So, it is hardly surprising that the number of unpaid family workers rose to 4.2 million, 60% of which are women.

Those women who are economically active or employed on the other hand,  are in unstable and low-paying jobs.  Women workers are concentrated in three sectors: manufacturing, service and agri-corporations. These are the industries where contractualization and other unfair labor practices are most rampant.

Apart from repeated short term contracts, some factories and plantations, exploit women by hiring them under the “pakyawan” system – workers are paid per piece or according to completed task per acre instead of 8-hour work.  This is probably the worst kind of flexible work, often experienced by women workers.  In W.L. Foods in Valenzuela city, for example, a female dominated workplace, most women are assigned as repackers and paid under the “pakyawan” system. They work for 12 hours, 6-7 days a week and receive a measly P200-P400 pesos/daily, still way below the P491 mandated wage for 8-hour work per day.

Despite successive workplace accidents resulting to deaths, unsafe and precarious working conditions persist in the workplaces.  The victims of the Kentex factory fire that took place on May 13,2015 are still struggling for justice. Last Februrary 1, House Technology Industries (HTI) in Cavite Export Processing Zone was gutted by fire, with hundreds of workers mostly contractual are yet to be accounted for, yet information is continually withheld by the company in cahoots with the local government authorities.   The independent Fact-Finding Mission led by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) also revealed that HTI has in fact violated several safety standards including prescribed passageway, exits etc. Survivors noted that most of those trapped were women, working at the Quality Control.

Outside the workplace,  different forms of violence and rights violations continue to beset women.  Last January 31, 2017, Eleonor Gonzales, a call center agent in Mandaluyong was robbed and killed. Similar conditions befell another call center agent in Bacolod last March 1, 2017. A former BPO worker also reported incidents of sexual harassment in the industry particularly against short term contract workers.

Yet, from home to overseas, attacks on women’s rights continue. Last January 25, 2017, Jakatia Pawa, a domestic worker in Kuwait was accused of killing her employer and hanged to death. Until her last breath, Pawa maintained her innocence but absence of support for her case, led to her death.  Pawa was not alone. In fact, more than a hundred overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are in the death row and more than 9,000 are continually detained in different countries.

Women WISE3 also condemned in stronger terms the ongoing “war on drugs” that has caused the deaths of 7,000 people. The war on drugs, and Pres. Duterte’s repeated pronouncements or statements about killing the criminals and those involved in drugs has continue to encourage a climate of violence, against the family and the poor but did not deter crimes.  Similarly, Women WISE3 is alarmed about renewed militarization in communities and the military capture of the administration governance policy of `law and order’.

The rise of poverty, inflation, human rights violations, and the impunity are more than enough reasons to warrant the resumption of peace talks, towards signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.  #

 

On HTI Factory fire: Women WISE3 urges thorough, independent and independent investigation

“Noong makalabas na ako sa building, nakita ko ang ibang mga manggagawa, karamihan ay babae, na tumatalon mula sa bintana ng 2nd at 3rd floor. Mayroon pa ngang buntis.”(When I was already out of the building, I saw workers, mostly women, including a pregnant woman jumping out of the window from the 2nd and 3rd floor.), a survivor recounted.

Women WISE3 expresses strong concern over these accounts, the company and the authorities seem indifferent about those allegations. A week after the huge fire that gutted the House Technology Industries in Rosario Cavite, a credible probe has not been conducted and doubts over no fatalities except those two male workers who died in the hospital linger. Gov. Remulla reiterated several times that only 126 were injured, accounts say otherwise.

 

“Noong makalabas na ako sa building, nakita ko ang ibang mga manggagawa, karamihan ay babae, na tumatalon mula sa bintana ng 2nd at 3rd floor. Mayroon pa ngang buntis.”(When I was already out of the building, I saw workers, mostly women, including a pregnant woman jumping out of the window from the 2nd and 3rd floor.), a survivor recounted.

Women WISE3 expresses strong concern over these accounts, the company and the authorities seem indifferent about those allegations. A week after the huge fire that gutted the House Technology Industries in Rosario Cavite, a credible probe has not been conducted and doubts over no fatalities except those two male workers who died in the hospital linger. Gov. Remulla reiterated several times that only 126 were injured, accounts say otherwise.

Last February 4-5, 2017, a multisectoral National Fact-Finding Mission (NFFM) led by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) was conducted to investigate the incident. Initial NFMM report raised concerns over a number of workers, witnesses and survivors who were hesitant, often evasive to answer inquiries related to the tragedy. The report also notes that two important things contradictory to the official (local government) reports given to the media: (1) Accounts underscored that were workers more women who were trapped inside the building during the panic, (2) there were exits which were locked, and workers from the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building resorted to breaking windows to get out.

The findings also indicated that the contractual or agency-hired workers were not included in the head count conducted contrary to the company claims that “all workers were accounted for”. Testimonies from survivors also suggest that more women workers may have been trapped in the 3rd floor of the building, as there are more women working in the Quality Control department. The list of those injured and eventually treated and confined at the hospital contains only 25 women out of 126 total injuries. While Women WISE3 would not desire negative impact for women, the allegations that more women jumped out of the window belie the official claim.

HTI, the biggest and acclaimed as“best” company in the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) or in Cavite as a whole was issued by PEZA a compliance certification. PEZA however did not say, what does it require to be certified as compliant. Most probably, PEZA does not cover the fact that casuals directly hired by HTI have to transferred to six manpower agencies after 3 months to become agency workers for as long as two years. When they passed the evaluation that it was only then that workers could be rehired by HTI. There are about 13,000 plus workers at HTI, of whom 5,000 more are contractuals. Contractual or agency-hired are overworked and are deprived of same benefits that regular workers receive.

In 2013, fire also hit the company but as the same, the company, PEZA and LGU kept mum over the incident.

Industrial fires, like in Kentex Manufacturing Corp in 2015 and the HTI fire, are never just accidents. But until and unless, inspection and compliance are voluntary on the part of the company, workers occupational safety and health will be compromised. OSH standards have to be legally enforced.

On February 10, Women WISE3 joined its fellow workers and workers’ rights advocates in a protest action at the Welcome Rotondain Quezon City to call for justice for the victims of the fire in the House Technology Industries. Women WISE3 also supports the demand for an immediate, thorough, transparent and independent investigation on the HTI fire, and to hold accountable those who are responsible for this tragedy.#

Pen and Notebook Campaign 2016

 

One of the difficulties faced by parents every school year is providing for the school supplies, uniform and other expenses of their children. Meager wages, unstable jobs and increasing prices of commodities make it really hard for families to send their children to school. Even if their children attend public schools where there is no tuition fee, their schooling would still require other expenses – uniform, fare, food, school supplies, books, projects, etc.

It is especially hard for workers in precarious jobs, with low wages and those who are suffering different forms of human rights violations to provide for all the needs of their children in school. Knowing this difficulty, CTUHR has launched Pen & Notebook Campaign since 2004 to provide support to children of labor leaders and organizers, urban poor and families of victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations. Last June 4, 2016, CTUHR gathered support from the Filipino community in Oyama, Japan for the Pen and Notebook Campaign. A total of 180 children of labor leaders, Women WISE3 members in Caloocan City, and striking workers in Laguna were given school bags with basic school supplies (notebooks, pad papers, pencils, pens) necessary for their studies.

On June 4, CTUHR and Women WISE3 held a program at Ina ng Laging Saklolo Chapel in Franville 2 in Caloocan City and distributed over a hundred school bags with complete school supplies to members of Women WISE3 in Camarin Residences in Caloocan City. Other beneficiaries are children of workers and displaced workers from other parts of the Metro and Southern Luzon. (Watch video of Pen and Notebook Campaign 2016)

Beyond charity, CTUHR recognizes the program as something that support members and strengthen organizations in order to continue pursuing the struggle for their right to decent wages, regular employment and unions. But at the same “we hope there will come a time when urban poor and workers no longer need to seek support and charity for the school needs of their children because they already have capacity to provide their needs.”###