12 October 2009
Spare us from another ‘storm,’ North Harbor workers demand
Port workers hold protest march for job security, union recognition
After enduring the damage of tropical storm “Ondoy,” Manila North Harbor
workers appealed to port authorities to spare them from another “storm” by
deferring layoff plans amid port terminal’s looming privatization.
In another major display of collective force, workers led by Alliance of
Port/Transport Workers and Porters in North Harbor (APTWP-NH), Kilusang
Mayo Uno, and Anakpawis Partylist marched along the stretch of Manila
North Harbor to demand a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will guarantee
zero job cut and recognition of existing unions.
“Ondoy have wrought damage to our homes. And we certainly do not want the
looming privatization to wreak damage to our livelihood. We need job
security in the face of typhoon aftermath and economic slump, not mass
layoffs” said Jake Azores, APTWP-NH president.
Azores said retrenchment is the worst thing that can happen to workers at
a time when they are struggling to recover from the damage left by
typhoons. “It is a blow that will definitely send us flat on our backs.”
At least 7,000 port workers and vendors risk losing their livelihood,
while hundreds of families living in the port area fear demolition of
their homes due to the port’s privatization. Meanwhile, winning bidders
Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and Harbor Centre are set to take
over the port’s operations anytime soon after a contract-signing.
“Throngs of workers will always pour into the streets for as long as port
authorities and the Arroyo regime play deaf to our legitimate demands. We
have proven this in previous actions, and we will certainly carry on with
our struggle until a MOA is signed,” said Azores.
“Let our barrage of huge protests be a warning to the winning bidders that
we can shut down the port if they will push through with their layoff and
contractualization schemes,” added Azores. #
Reference: Jake Azores, APTWP-NH President, 0923-905-1530