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Hurdles to unionization seen denying workers needed protections


THE obstacles being thrown in front of workers seeking to unionize have had the effect of denying employees the protections they are entitled to, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said.

“The first and most alarming form of discrimination is the harassment, termination and even killing or abduction of workers who attempt to organize unions,” Jose G. Matula, president of the FFW, said in a statement.

“Many of these workers are red-tagged as communists or terrorists, creating a climate of fear that stifles their right to advocate for better working conditions and fair treatment.”

The FFW said the government should also ensure that contractual workers’ right to security of tenure is upheld. It floated the idea of passing a security of tenure law for workers in both the private and public sectors.

The FFW was observing International Workers Memorial Day for the Dead and Injured Workers, set to be celebrated on April 28, and ahead of Labor Day on May 1.

“In light of these issues, the FFW is calling on the government to take decisive action against all forms of discrimination against workers,” Mr. Matula said.

“The organization will continue to advocate for workers’ rights and urges the public to join them in the fight for a more inclusive, equal, and just society.”

A team of representatives from the International Labor Organization (ILO) met with trade unions and government agencies in January to discuss harassment and violence against labor.

Labor groups have said the Philippine government has consistently failed to comply with ILO conventions on freedom of association and the right to organize.

In a separate statement, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) called on the government to look into cases of violence against trade union organizers and ensure their safety.

The ITUC issued the statement after a union paralegal of the Business Processing Outsourcing Industry Employees Network was reportedly stabbed to death in Bacolod City on Monday.

“We urge the government to address worker fears of the culture of impunity of state forces and ensure the safety and security of all workers and union organizers,” it said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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