Labor nixes Palace Labor Day invitation

A labor leader announced their group’s decision to turn down the invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte for labor leaders to attend an assembly organized by the Labor department to commemorate Labor Day in Davao City.

“It is pointless to attend their assembly on the only day in the entire year dedicated to the working class, especially if the issues and concerns that gravely affect us will not even be tackled and addressed,” said Leody de Guzman, leader of the socialist Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).

He complained that, “Workers are not even part of the Labor day program of Malacanang. They only intend us to be ornaments, a mere backdrop to the president as he addresses the crowd. It will seem that it is not even Labor Day if we will not be even be given the chance to raise our points on contractualization, dirt wages and unemployment. There will not even be an open forum after Duterte’s speech”.

The assembly intended for labor leaders and other sectors to be able to witness as the president is expected to make a “surprise” announcement for workers on Labor Day “Matatag na Kabuhayan tungo sa Progresibong Pagbabago,” is reported to be the assembly’s theme.

“Malacanang cannot expect us to be eager- if his very promise remains to be meaningless. What we need and what was promised us was the end of all forms of contractual employment and not the explanation why he succumbed to the interests of capitalists,“ De Guzman added.

It has been over a year has passed when Duterte promised in the Luzon leg of the 2016 Presidential Debate in Pangasinan that he will prohibit contractualization upon assuming the presidency.

In a related story, De Guzman announced in a press conference Thursday with other labor leaders the formation of an PAGGAWA or Pagkakaisa ng Paggawa (Unity of Labor), an alliance of groups that were once affiliated Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Aside from BMP, the composition of PAGGAWA included the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), National Confederation of Labor (NCL) and the National Federation of Labor (NFL).

The groups united to demand the revocation of Department Order 174 that legalized contractual employment, the firing of Silvestre Bello as Secretary of the DoLE, the issuance of an Executive Order prohibiting all forms of contractualization and the holding of a joint march and program on Monday, Labor Day at Mendiola bridge.