Just a reminder: give a damn about workers’ rights

Every day, we consume more than a few things: food, drinks, clothes, services like public transport and the internet. But if you’ve been scrolling your Twitter feed lately, you might have seen certain hashtags calling for boycotts on popular brands and companies. A lot of the things we get to consume come from the sweat and tears of millions of waiters, jeepney drivers, and factory workers. “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism” remember that alt-right meme? Well, if we focus on how this country treats its workers like garbage, we’re living that meme right now.

Our country might be surrounded by water, but it’s also drowning in issues. Ending labor contractualization or “endo” has been one of the most prominent. It was the president himself who promised to end “endo.” That promise has given hope to millions of Filipino workers. But with strikes erupting left and right, it seems that “endo” won’t be ending anytime soon. The brutal dispersal of protesting workers recently in a Bulacan condiments factory proves it.

It was the president himself who promised to end “endo.” That promise has given hope to millions of Filipino workers. But with strikes erupting left and right, it seems that “endo” won’t be ending anytime soon.

Read more: The police are harassing people at gigs now

You might have seen the reports on TV or tweets about it on your timeline. Bloodied protesters being hit by police with truncheons has greeted our feeds. The word outrageous is probably an understatement. This is the violent second dispersal they faced from the police in the past two months. The dispersal has been the most violent last Friday.

Workers have been picketing outside their factory to demand their rights. Instead, they have only been met with stones and guns and arrests. Police and the company claim that the protesters started the violence. But numerous videos from the scene tell us otherwise. More than 20 workers and protesters were left wounded and injured.

They’re also the backbone of our economy. And yet, why do we stand here and treat them like disposable commodities by companies?

Today, we see the release of the 19 workers, activists and journalists arrested from the bloody dispersal. But the fight for the rights of our workers does not end here. Our workers deserve better. The rights of workers are also human rights. Workers are not only the backbone of any company. They’re also the backbone of our economy. And yet, why do we stand here and treat them like disposable commodities by companies? With the government’s various attacks on the poor, the plight of workers is perhaps the least of their concerns.

While ethical consumption might not be in our current system, the least we could do is to get companies to listen. We’re talking about human rights after all.

If you’re a fan of a particular brand, product or service, always try to check out how they treat their employees. There might be blood in your takeout or in the ketchup your family likes to use. While ethical consumption might not be in our current system, the least we could do is to get companies to listen. We’re talking about human rights after all. It’s wild that this still needs to be debated. It doesn’t need to be. That is everyone’s right to work hard and earn fairly.

There are aspects needed more than our hashtags and donations and boycotts. The struggle for workers’ rights needs more warm bodies more than ever. People who will join workers in picket lines to listen to their stories and sufferings. People who will join them in their struggle.

Want to reach out? Direct support for striking workers can also be made through financial aid that can be deposited through the following bank accounts:

BPI: Menchani I. Tilendo, account number 2169096956
BDO: Center for Trade Union & Human Rights, account number 002010066193

The workers are also in need donations in cash or in kind in the form of food, water and toiletries. They can be dropped off at the following points:
Kabataan Partylist Headquarters: 25-C Mabuhay Street, Diliman, Quezon City
1139 P. Guevarra Street, Santa Cruz, Manila

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Photo by Phillip Jamilla

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