On International Labor Day, youth demand: Smash K-12, contractualization

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kabataan Partylist joined various youth groups and progressive organizations, led by Kilusang Mayo Uno and the urban poor group Kadamay, as they marched through Manila today to demand an end to labor flexibilization schemes. They express their demands through massive hammers containing calls such as “Kontraktwalisasyon, Wakasan!” and “National Minimum Wage, Ipaglaban!

“We call for the ‘smashing’ of the pro-imperialist K to 12 program, and of contractualization and DOLE’s Order 174. We call as well for the people’s just demands — free land distribution and genuine agrarian reform, free and livable mass housing for the poor, and for a national minimum wage of P750/day at par with current living standards,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 71 million youths around the globe are unemployed. They also noted that youth are also victims of forced labor migration due to lack of domestic jobs.

“Massive unemployment is key to wage depression and various labor flexibilization schemes,” Elago said. According to independent think tank IBON, the NCR minimum wage at P491 for NCR and P250 for ARMM is grossly incomparable to P1,119 that a family needs in order to address its basic needs.

“Exploitative schemes such as the DO 174 will gravely endanger young workers. Combined with Herrera Law and other oppressive policies, it will not only pull down wages, but also attack their right to unionize and assert their demands,” Elago added.

Smash K to 12

“The youth, as the nation’s future labor force, are already being molded according to the demands of the global market,” Elago explained.

The young solon adds that the K to 12 program is geared towards the production of massive cheap and docile semi-skilled labor. “As a thrust of ASEAN and the World Bank, it further aims to harmonize educational systems in the region, to facilitate exchange of skilled labor capital for the abuse of the global market,” said Elago.

Continuing Significance of Russian October Revolution

“In an era where ‘labor day’ is repackaged as a grand vacation day and a rest from work, it should be remembered for what it is — it began with the workers’ strikes for an eight-hour workday. Its success is the result of the workers’ tireless assertion,” Elago said.

Today, the youth marches with the Filipino people to celebrate the 100 years of the October Revolution, and pay homage to Vladimir Lenin, the Russian communist who incited the working class to revolt against U.S. imperialism.

“We draw inspiration from the achievements of the Bolsheviks in the Russian parliament, who staunchly fought with the workers for an 8-hour work day. They maximized parliament for revolutionary agitation and greatly complemented workers’ strikes across Russia in the early 1900s. The combination of workers struggles, and the Bolsheviks’ unwavering stand, was key to their victory,” Elago explained.

Pursue National Industrialization, Land reform

On the first Labor Day under Duterte, the youth party calls on the President to promote pro-people economics and genuine ‘change.’

“There’s something amiss with Dutertenomics. It is grounded on foreign capital and investments, and relies on construction to stir artificial economic growth. In contrast, Duterte should pursue a self-sufficient economy based on national industrialization, rural development, and modern agriculture among others. The welfare and rights of the working class should be at it’s very core,” Elago said.

“Duterte’s openness to the peace talks is a step in the right direction. We further challenge him to take up the hammer and smash the structural ills of society,” Elago added.

“The youth vows to continue to struggle with workers, the poor and marginalized sectors of society to end exploitation and oppression. We are enlivened by the Occupy movements of the poor, workers and peasants, and pledge to further fulfill their historic role in the people’s struggle, towards a society which satisfies necessities and not markets,” Elago concluded. ###