Solidarity statement for DIGITEL Employees Union
July 26, 2013
Toronto, ON—The Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians (CPFC) extends its solidarity to the membership and allies of the DIGITEL Employees Union (DEU) in their continuing struggle against the neoliberal ploys of the DIGITEL-Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s (PLDT) merged management for illegally terminating DIGITEL employees in Manila, Philippines. The CPFC commends the courageous men and women involved with the DEU members’ hunger strikes, community briefings and protests in opposition to DIGITEL-PLDT management, as well as in exposing the inadequacy of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) in their inaction despite having signed the writ-of-execution order on March 19, 2013, and the Supreme Court’s decision to re-instate the dismissed workers. Such absolution of responsibility over the firing of long-time DIGITEL employees is not only an attack on the workers immediately affected, but is also a maneuver with political implications that affect labour struggles in the Philippines and beyond. In this age of intense corporatization and privatization under neoliberal capitalism, workers all over the world are faced with labour practices that prioritize hyper-capital accumulation at the grave expense and complete neglect of workers’ rights, safety, well-being and lives.
Similarly, reverberations of neoliberalism through identical labour practices are deeply impacting working class communities all over Canada. The cheapening, contractualization and increasing disposability of labour are commonly inflicted upon workers in both the Philippines and Canada. The Philippines is the largest source of temporary workers and newly-arrived permanent residents in Canada, with temporary status entries vastly outnumbering permanent resident status being granted. As transnational workers who uphold the bare bones of Canadian society, we are made prey to the Conservative government’s ever-expanding avenues of profit and exploitation through our relegation as cheap labour by their market-driven immigration system. Our structured temporariness and vulnerability are all-too convenient mechanisms for the Canadian state to supress wages, lower labour and employment standards and ridding job security for all workers in the country.
While transnational workers are severely restricted and pigeonholed into highly exploitative and contractual work as domestic workers, agricultural workers and other service sector occupations, Canadian corporations stand unimpeded in outsourcing of “cost efficient” and flexible labour across national borders. While corporations are sanctioned by the state in their untrammelled attacks against labour, such policies have kept transnational workers and their families in a state of perpetual impermanence, thus hindering their genuine settlement, integration and full participation in Canadian society.
To the same effect of the arbitrary and unjust terminations of the 90 permanent and 200 temporary DIGITEL employees, Filipino workers in Canada are faced with instability and insecurity as temporary workers. From overworked Filipino janitorial workers in Nova Scotia, who were threatened with deportation after complaining against unscrupulous subcontractors who were paying well below the minimum wage, to the class action law suit involving temporary workers against fast food chain Denny’s due to a slew of abuses in British Columbia, Filipino workers across Canada continue to struggle through neoliberal schemes by the state and businesses to corrode workers’ fundamental rights and entitlements.
In the spirit of resistance, the organizations under the CPFC stand in solidarity with the DEU for combating corporate interests and the fumbling bureaucracy of the Department of Labour and Employment. The stance of fighting for what is due to workers as vital contributors and builders of communities and entire societies is now all the more necessary to advance and uphold in an era of austerity, cut backs and crisis under neoliberal globalization. Profit must stop taking precedence over people!
Job security for all now!
End the contractualization of labour!
Expose and oppose neoliberal globalization!
Long live international solidarity!
Organizations under the CPFC:
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC)
SIKLAB Canada (Advance and Uphold the Struggle of Filipino Canadian Workers)
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance—National
Sinag Bayan Arts Collective—National
Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights (PCTFHR)