Glenn Thompson

Glenn Thompson

 Elmer Bong Labog, leader of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) union federation in the Philippines, called on Australian unionists and internationalists to stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters on a Solidarity Tour in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

Melbourne Meeting

Melbourne: over seventy-five internationalists hear Elmer’s call for solidarity

“The intensive harassment and repression of trade union members and working people in the Philippines deserves to be condemned by all who value basic human rights and the rule of law.”

On his solidarity tour, Elmer met with union members and leaders from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), UnionsWA, Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation (ANMF), Australian Council of Trade Unions, (ACTU), the Financial Services Union (FSU), and the NSW Teachers Federation.

And union members responded to Elmer’s call, with strong numbers of activists attending the events. 

 GlennWA Meeting

In Perth, Elmer Labog met with the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Perth Activist Group. After being welcomed by AMWU Secretary Glenn Thompson and meeting with UnionsWa Secretary Meredith Hammat and WA Greens leader Alison Xamon MLC, Elmer attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Solidarity Park in commemoration of the forty-six union members murdered in extra-judicial violence under the Duterte regime. 

 Solidarity Park WA

Perth: Wreath Laid in Commemoration of Murdered Philippine Unionists

In Melbourne, more than seventy-five Victorian unionists gathered to hear Elmer and Meryle in conversation with Brother Thy Yann from the Building Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUB)  and Andrew Dettmer from the AMWU – Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union about trade union repression across the Asia Pacific.

The delegation met with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’NeilLuke Hilakari Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific.

 ACTU Meeting

In Canberra, the Philippine delegation spoke with federal parliamentarians about the urgent need for the Australian government to pressure the Duterte regime to end the killings. They called for Australia to end its military aid of the Philippines military, which has been implicated in wide-spread human rights abuses against civil society activists and campaigners.

 Peter Solidarity

Canberra: Parliamentarians hear about trade union repression in the Philippines

“The right of working people to organise is guaranteed by international standards and national laws, including the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association, but these are being ignored by the Duterte regime in the Philippines. We call on the Australian government to suspend military assistance to the Duterte Regime.”
Elmer and Meryl spoke with: Senator Penny WongAdam Bandt MP, Senator Tony Sheldon, Senator Kim CarrSenator Tim AyresJosh Wilson MPPat Conroy MPPeter Khalil MPGed Kearney MP, Julian Hill MP, and Josh Burns MP
17th December 2019.
A South Korean court has sentenced the chairman of the board of Samsung Electronics to 18 months in prison for sabotaging union activities, in a ruling likely to add pressure on the technology giant to overhaul its corporate culture.
Dozens of other current and former employees at various Samsung units were also convicted on Tuesday for their mistreatment of trade unions. State prosecutors have said Samsung executives used various tactics to discourage union activities, including threatening to cut the wages of employees linked to unions and withdraw business from subcontractors who appeared union-friendly.
Samsung group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, is facing growing public pressure to reset relations with its workers following a decades-long antitrade union stance. While not an official policy, Samsung has publicly expressed an aversion to unions, stating that they “create unnecessary conflicts”.
Labour activists have called for strong punishment for Samsung executives involved in sabotaging efforts to organise union activities.
It is a meaningful ruling which ended the Korean government's long-standing practice of giving SAMSUNG corporate impunity from punishment for crimes even though the crimes had victims and despite the company's deliberate, elaborately pre-planned, systematic and organizationally-mobilized methodical carrying-out of the crimes ~ and probable recidivism and destruction of evidence.
But somehow, corporate leaders who were at the center of the fierce union busting in the latter half of 2013 -- namely CHOI Gee-sung (Future Strategy office of Samsung Group) and Chairman LEE Kun-hee and the corporate magnate's family members -- were not even indicted.
Indeed, the KMWU press statement following the courts decision called for re-detention of Samsung magnate LEE Jay-yong.

Radio Labour: Philippines Report

On the 10-11th December civil society and the global union movement stood together in condemning the recent raids, arrests and extrajudicial killings of 45 trade union leaders in the Philippines. The Philippine government, led by President Duterte, targets unionists, journalists, human rights activists and organisations critical of the regime in a process known as ‘red tagging’. These people and organisations are falsely labelled as terrorists and targeted with harassment, arrests, and violence.

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The persecution of labour organisations in the Philippines infringes on freedom of association and the right to organise. Labour organisations have been unjustly targeted as fronts for armed struggle movements, with state police fabricating firearm possession charges by planting weapons and ammunition. The raids, arrests and current political climate have been effective in preventing workers from organising within the trade union movement. 

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We urge the government of the Philippines to: 

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1. Stop the attacks and “red tagging” of trade union organisations and labour activists. 

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2. Implement the recommendations concluded by the Committee of Application of Standards of the ILO in June 2019; and 

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3. Accept the High-Level Tripartite Mission of the ILO to visit the country at the soonest possible time. 

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Workers’ rights are human rights. We stand in solidarity with our comrades fighting for their rights in the Philippines.” 


ITUC - Global Unions Statement

Press statement 4th June 2019.

Trade union organizer Maoj Maga raised his fist in defiance of the court decision finding him guilty based on planted evidence. Eleanor, KMU secretary for human rights and wife of Maga in this photo comforts their son.

Maga was arrested last year without warrant while playing basketball with other school kids' parents after taking their son to school. The police said Maga was illegally carrying a gun during that time which is ludicrous for someone who is playing basketball near the school.


1 Maoj

 We decry the decision of the court to declare labor rights activist and union organizer Maoj Maga guilty. He was convicted yesterday on the case of illegal possession of firearms and was sentenced to prison for a minimum of eight years and one day.

The San Mateo Regional Trial Court decision is biased against trade unionists and is leaning towards the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP). It serves their objective of preventing key leaders and organizers of the militant trade union Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and PISTON from organizing workers to assert their demands.
The charges laid against Maga are baseless. The evidence was planted. The real criminals here are the police who illegally arrested Maga and came out with false testimonies. They blatantly lied in their testimonies and the court based its decision only on these lies, and nothing more. Maga’s basic rights to liberty and due process are grossly violated.
The police lied, and by affirming their lies, the court also committed a serious crime and violated the law, apart from violating Maga's rights.
The decision to keep Maga detained comes timely when the issue of banning provincial buses, phasing out of jeepneys, and implementing route rationalization and fleet management are about to spark public outrage.
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Months before his arrest in February 2018,  Maga was one of the leading organizers of public utility drivers who conducted a series of transport strikes against the phasing out of jeepneys.
The Duterte government is afraid that by releasing Maga, drivers and commuters would have a young and vibrant organizer back to work. 
We in the labor movement will not stop fighting for Maoj Maga's release. He should not be punished for being a trade union organizer. 
The court should review its decision and let truth and justice prevail.
Free Maoj Maga! Free all political prisoners! 
The former president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union (KCTU), who was unfairly imprisoned for defending the labor rights against the corporate greed in his country, will be this Saturday 12 August 2018  in the headquarters of the CTA-Autónoma in gratitude to the solidarity actions develop by the CTA along with SIGTUR network and unions from all around the globe for his freedom.
Han Sang-gyun was imprissioned for two years, five months of a five years sentence. “The fight for Han is an example of workers of all the world who fight against the big transnational corporate greed”, affirmed Fito Aguirre, Secretary of International Relations of CTA.
Han Sang-gyun was sentenced to an imprisonment of five years falsely accused of “leading a violent protest” of 130.000 persons against the corrupt government of Park Geun-hye in November 2015. That struggle of the KCTU -with which the CTA-Autónomoa is part of the Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR)- stimulated series of big protest know as the “candle vigil”, which gathered millions of people.
The 5 year sentence was for organizing and being part of  the massive protest in Seoul calling for an end to precarized work and respect of the right to organize, strike, collective bargaining and fair salaries.
130.000 people were repressed by the police with tear gases and water cannons, which the tribunal considered as legal actions. The sentence of Han was the most hard since 1987 against a trade union leader.
Since the creation of the KCTU in the decade of 90’s, Han and other members of the organization suffered harassment and criminalization because of their fight for better working conditions and working rights. During the 2015 were initiated lawsuits against 585 leaders of this central. “That attack to the human and labor rights is the response of the globalized capitalism -allied with the governments in charge- against who confront face to face the big transnational corporations, which search to increase their profits at the expense of the decent life of the workers, passing over the state sovereignty and the international right standards”, denounced Fito Aguirre.
The secretary of International Relationships remember that “the CTA-Autonomous take the decision of mobilize many times as necessary until get the freedom of Han. Since the beginning of 2016 and until June of the present year we mobilized repeatedly to the South Korea Embassy in Argentina, we sent letters to the president Moon and we held meetings with the consular authorities to take the request for the immediate liberation of Han, as well as the request of stop the social protest criminalization and persecution”.
The CTA leader celebrated that “the leader of the KCTU visits our CTA-Autónoma in thanks to the successfully campaign for his liberation which is part of the international principles of our central which round about three pillars: international supports to the Palestine cause; denounce of the economic block against Venezuela; and the freedom of Han Sang-gyun, Lee and of all the brothers and sisters of the KCTU”.
“The international solidarity has played a central role to confront the globalized capital”, finish Aguirre.
Sunday, 05 August 2018 22:49

Brutal Attack On Striking Workers

People Over Profit strongly condemns the brutal dispersal of around striking workers and their supporters, 30, July 2018 at the NutriAsia picket line in Marilao, Bulacan, Philippines.
According to news reports, forces from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the NutriAsia’s guards viciously attacked the striking workers and their support groups while they were holding an ecumenical mass. They started pushing and hitting the workers with shields and truncheons. Scores, including children, women and the elderly, were severely injured. 
Nineteen workers, their supporters, and journalists were arrested. Media personnel covering the incident were also threatened by the police and their equipment seized. The police and company security thugs planted fake witnesses and evidences such as firearms and drugs to implicate the workers and deflect responsibility for the violence. 
NutriAsia is one of the largest food condiment producers in the Philippines. 
It also exports its products to 28 countries across Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe, and North America. Since June 2, NutriAsia workers under Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia Inc. (NMAI) have established a picket line in front of the company’s factory in Bulacan. However, the workers have been long been fighting for regularization and the right to form a union. They were also fighting against the company’s illegal salary deductions, underpaid overtime work of 619 PHP (11.66 USD) for 12 hours, lack of health insurance, and other inhumane working conditions.
According to NutriAsia workers, they are paid only 380 PHP (7USD) for an 8-hour work day so they often had to work for 12-16 hours to make ends meet. Their wages are further reduced by deductions for company uniforms and protective gear. They also do not receive the legally-mandated 13th month pay. Out of more than 1400 workers, only 100 workers are regular. Most of their workers are outsourced from agencies.
This is not the first time that state and NutriAsia colluded to break the strike. Despite the previous Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on February 28, 2018 ordering NutriAsia to regularize over 900 of its employees, NutriAsia claimed that the workers were not their employees but workers of the B-Mirk Enterprises Corporation.
On June 14, the PNP and guards from NutriAsia violently dismantled the protesters’ picketline. The case was brought to the DOLE in region III where the previous decision was overturned, in favor of NutriAsia in June 29, 2018. 
POP calls for international support to NutriAsia’s worker’s strike and condemnation of the combined state and corporate violence inflicted on the workers. Below are some ways to show your support:
1.Support for the #NutriAsia workers’ strike against illegal termination and contractualization by signing on to our statement here.
2. Send letters of concern/protest to NutriAsia CEO Joselito Campos. Tell him to repay the trust of consumers and to follow the law by regularizing all NutriAsia workers and stopping all his company’s violent attacks against them: Email
3. Ask your organization, student council, school, union, employees association, or even your local city/town council to express support for NutriAsia workers’ just demands for regularization and for job security.
4. Contact the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment at +63025273000. Send a message message for Sec. Bello: “Secretary, please protect and help regularize all workers at NutriAsia.”
5. Share news by alternative media sites Altermidya - People's Alternative Media Network, Bulatlat, Pinoy Weekly, Telesur, Rappler, and ask your local newspapers to feature the issue
More information:
Thursday, 02 August 2018 05:44

NutriAsia Take Action Following Sackings

A “Boycott NutriAsia” campaign has gained traction in social media, while contractual workers of the condiment giant maintain their picket line in Marilao despite a violent dispersal attempt on June 14. Four workers were arrested and dozens more were injured as local police claimed to be implementing a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Bulacan court against the picket protest.
 nutriasia supporter
NutriAsia’s contractual workers set up their picket line on June 2, after management fired around 50 workers, including union leaders, and refused to implement a February 23 DOLE ruling which ordered the company to regularize 80 workers who were employed through an illegal LOC scheme. Workers also complained of unauthorized salary deductions and unsafe working conditions, reporting that NutriAsia failed to comply with laws governing occupational safety and health (OSH) standards.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:42

“IMF Never Again”

TA Autónoma along with civil and social organizations demonstrated last Saturday 21th July to express their rejection to the presence of Christine Lagarde and the IMF in Argentina as part of the G20 agenda.
Under the slogan “IMF Never Again”, a wide group of organizations gathered near the Center of Conventions of Buenos Aires, where the meeting with IMF was held, to express their reject to the stand by agreement with the IMF asked by the argentine government last month, as well as to condemn the subjection of the country to the austerity policies demanded by the international credit organizations.
The presence of the IMF in Argentina in the context of the G20 agenda this year means several damages for the workers’ rights while transnational corporations strength their power over states and people. 
This ratifies our role as a peripheral country in the international working division. A model based on the economic adjustment by precarization, workers dismissals and cut of rights.
This is why different union, civil and social organizations got together and marched on the streets to shout out loud that the working class will not remain still while big corporations in alliance with governments seek for increase their profits at the expense of workers living conditions and indebting the people. Corporate greed and external debt can’t run our lives. ¡We will defend our sovereignty, rights and jobs! 
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 22:54

Free Former President Lula

July 8, 2018 marked a further development of the current legal / media / parliamentary coup d’etat  to which our country is subject. 
Both, the Federal Police and Judge Sergio Moro, who is presently on vacation in Portugal, failed to comply with a decision of the Federal Court of the 4th region that determined the immediate release of President Lula.
At this moment the legal situation of President Lula is of freedom determined by the Federal Court, but his release was curtailed by contempt of the Federal Police and sectors of the Brazilian judiciary that refused to comply with the decision, thus keeping Brazilian former president in a condition of unlawful arrest. 
President Lula is now considered a victim of political persecution, which caused the International Human Rights Foundation to grant Lula a status of "prisoner of conscience in arbitrary detention”.
The current moment demands even more public reprimand and international solidarity actions so that we can guarantee Lula's freedom as soon as possible and his right to run in the coming presidential elections in Brazil.
Brazilians have placed him as the favorite candidate with greatest popular support.
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On Thursday 5th July 2018 CTA took a big step in developing a regional  strategy to build the Industry Workers National Coordination of the CTA, and launched its request of affiliation to IndustriALL global Union.
This initiative is the result of deep national, regional debate taking into account the global context, CTA see more than ever the importance to organize as workers to preserve our labour conditions as well as our jobs against the assault of the new neoliberal wave. 
In the international division of work our country is pushed in the place of a commodities and raw materials producer while trade liberalization combined with strong incentives for the financial economy produces scarce industrialization.
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Meanwhile, the right wing governments that arrived to the region undermined the capabilities of MERCOSUR to build productive complementarity at a regional scale and now MERCOSUR is negotiating against the clock to close a free trade agreement with European Union which would be terrible for the industry and regional economies in our country.
We are sure that this context give us the responsibility to gather together and build an alternative and sustainable productive matrix for the country with the vision of the workers as well as think about the energy matrix required for that. This will be a model of development based on human and labour rights, sustainability and sovereignty.
We are interested in getting involved in the discussion about the present and future of work in this context of transnational control of the economy and productive offshoring that big companies exercise through global value chains. In addition to that we face the challenge of fourth industrial revolution and the debate about new technologies in relation to jobs. 
CTA has identify the need for an international effort to respond globally to  capitalism that attacks us all in the same way. The CTA leadership has engaged with the leadership of IndustriALL global union and will now step up these discussions now that the Industry Workers National Coordination has been formed and will be seeking formally affiliation to IndustriALL.
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Delegates representing many sectors engaged in a rich and intense debate. The industries represented were pharmaceutical, leather, sugar, clothing, technology, nuclear, metallurgical and shipbuilding industries. The now constuted Workers National Coordination Industry which will represent around 22.000 workers have reaffirmed their wish to be an IndustriALL affiliate. 
At the end of the day, the conference made a public presentation and launching of the National Coordination with the presence of delegates from different unions from the country and Ruben Cortina, recently elected president of UNI global Union, who celebrate this decision and underline the vision of unity of the industrial working class from Argentina. 
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