Metal and machine industries workers

support Global Union Campaign and Day of Action

against Precarious Work



October 7, 2009



KMU Chair Elmer Labog

Photos courtesy of Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP)


Statement in support of the
Global Union Campaign and Day of Action against Precarious Work

Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines
7 October 2008

As the largest concentration of industrial workers in the Philippines, metal and machine industries workers under the Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) join all fellow workers and supporters as we declare in unison on today's global day of action our outright opposition to precarious work. We commend the International Metalworkers' Federation and the European Metalworkers' Federation for taking the reins in bringing upfront and centre our clear position against all forms of irregular and precarious employment which has become all too-common around the world.

Surely, our collective participation in this global union campaign and day of action will send an unmistakable indicator of shame to employers and governments across borders that metal workers stand united against the precarious work we are forced to endure and stand for the promotion of employment that ensures all workers' dignity to life. MWAP adds its assertion to the international campaign to immediately end the all-out expansion of precarious work, for decent wages and working conditions, job security, and against the array of flexible labor schemes which has reared its ugly head everywhere from auto industry factories in China, to electronics supply chains of Mexico, to Turkish shipyards, to aerospace facilities in the U.S.

Precarious work is a sharp piece of the economic assault of capitalists bent on plucking every morsel it can out of workers. Wage levels are pushed down, and full-time regular jobs are replaced by part-time and precarious work, while benefits and social services are cut back or cut off. The real incomes of the working class continue to drop and are intensely felt right now with the global financial meltdown and huge economic crisis generated by the U.S afflicting the entire world economy. Underdeveloped countries are all the more victimized by the tightening of credit and decreased orders from rich countries for raw materials and semi-manufactures which have a heavy bearing on the metal and machine industry and its workers. In the name of more and more profit, competition between multinational companies drives down costs, including cheaper labor under the most precarious conditions.

With the current "neoliberal" globalization policy of denationalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation, the Philippine economy has become more vulnerable to the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. Temporary and precarious employment schemes aggravate unemployment in the Philippines by destroying regular or permanent jobs while relegating temporary workers to sub-humane and sub-standard conditions at work. These schemes in turn weaken trade unions by not only the getting rid of permanent workers and the decline of union membership, but also the elimination of workers' benefits with long-term employment.

Honda Cars Philippines workers for example, are only allowed to work a total of nine hours and 15 minutes per week or four days per week which saves on the company's overhead expenses. To compensate for non-working days, workers are slapped with more duties having to perform five procedures in the assembly line (usually done by five workers) in a strict time frame. For Hanjin Shipyard construction workers, the names of subcontracting firms under Hanjin are placed on their identification cards and pay slips which in effect eases expense cutbacks and labor turnover for the company while maintaining a stable core of workers.

Because of inadequate wages, unstable working conditions, and massive lay offs, workers in the Philippines contribute largely to the International Labour Organization's predicted increase in global unemployment by an estimated five million people this year. The unbearable absence of decent work and livelihood in our home country push more than 3000 people, every single day into even more precarious work which is typically dirty, difficult, and dangerous in countries all over the world. The Philippines has become the flagship nation for the backward and anti-worker model that migration leads to the development of poor nations which in fact intensifies the dependence on overseas worker remittances to keep their sinking economies from complete collapse. As the Philippine government prepares to host the 2nd United Nations Global Forum on Migration and Development from October 27 to 30 this year, MWAP joins the broad range of grassroots organizations set to challenge the cruel reality that forced migration has only led to more cheap labor and exploitation of migrant workers from maldeveloped nations.

With the Philippine economy and society hit hard by the worsening global economic crisis plunging from one level of crisis and depression to another, metal workers in the Philippines stand united with the struggling ranks of the working people of the world that are mobilizing and are preventing the neoliberal agenda of globalization from easily pushing through. This strengthens our ability to face greater challenges in our shared struggle against the oppression and exploitation that capitalist schemes of precarious work feed off.

MWAP therefore takes inspiration from all the metal workers in unions and workplaces from all the countries that have been fighting against the dangerous trend of precarious work and are participating in today's global day of action. We stand solid and proud in contributing to the international solidarity work that is integral in stubbornly challenging and mounting tireless pressure against the overall and systematic violation of workers' rights that precarious work incessantly entails. We have high hopes that with continued unity and solidarity, metal workers of the world can be an important force in achieving decent wages, work, and rights for all working people.

Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines
7 October 2008