Workers and toiling people: Never be cowed! Rise up and fight!
To Filipino workers and toiling people: On May 1, together with workers and toiling people across the world, let us fill the streets and demonstrate our unity, courage and determination to fight for our class interests, and for the people’s aspiration for freedom and democracy. With thunderous steps and collective cries, let us shake the foundations of foreign imperialist rule, in collusion with the ruling exploiting classes of big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, and the reigning oppressive state.
Amid the aggravation of the global capitalist crisis, workers suffer worse forms of exploitation that squeeze more value from their labor power. Capitalists shortchange workers of their labor power. Millions upon millions of workers receive minimum wages that are not enough to cover their daily cost of living and those of their families.
Working hours are incessantly extended to accumulate more value without corresponding compensation. Workers are stretched to their physical limits to accelerate the production and distribution of commodities. The basic rights to an eight-hour work day and just minimum wages equivalent to their daily needs are systematically being dismantled and trampled upon.
In the past six years under the Duterte regime, workers suffered one of the sharpest fall in living conditions due to anti-worker policies such as freezing and repression of wages. Minimum wages in the National Capital Region have not been increased over the past two years despite rising prices of fuel, food and other basic needs. Workers were duped by promises to end contractualization. Instead, worse forms of flexible employment emerged especially since the pandemic.
Less than 1% of Filipino workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements. This is the result of almost three decades of relentless attacks against their rights to unionize. Orchestrated by the NTF-Elcac, unions are suppressed to disarm workers. In the name of “counterinsurgency,” unionists and labor leaders are being killed, charged with false criminal accusations, imprisoned or subjected to endless harassment to make them turn against the interests of workers, silence and make them work for the state.
Filipino workers undergo extreme sufferings and intensified exploitation and oppression in the face of non-stop increase in prices, low wages and wage cuts, increasingly onerous taxes, and widespread unemployment. They have an intensifying desire to get organized, take action and fight for their rights and the welfare of the entire people.
Persevere in the life-and-death struggle to build or rebuild labor unions to bring together their power to fight for what is theirs. Decisively increase the number and size of unions to unite more and more workers. Resist and overcome threats, violence, bribery and all maneuvers by capitalists to undermine workers unity. Sharpen the weapons of struggle including strikes, pickets and other forms of collective action.
Workers must strive to advance the struggle for higher wages so that they can provide enough food and a decent life for their families.
Oppose the various schemes of flexibilization. Struggle to end the system of contractualization and fight for job regularization. Push for the recognition or restoration of workers’ right to paid 8-hour working day and put an end to the quota and piece-rate system in all its various forms.
The Filipino working class must show their unity this coming May 1. Fill the streets and march from factories and communities and congregate in public squares to raise the collective voices of workers and people. Recall the important role played by the working class and the strike movement in the 1970s in shattering the fear that prevailed during martial law under the Marcos dictatorship.
Link the economic struggles of workers to the struggle against Duterte’s fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-workers tyranny, including the call to repudiate the Marcos-Duterte electoral tandem, and the major struggles after the elections.
On May 1, a few days before the May 9 elections, workers must fortify their determination to push without letup their struggle for wage increases, regularization and the right to build unions, as well as for their demand to hold Duterte and his accomplices accountable and punish them for their crimes of fascist terrorism, and for the people’s aspiration for genuine freedom, democracy and justice.
Across the world, workers’ struggles and strikes are erupting in different countries in Europe, in Latin and North America, in Asia and Africa to fight intensifying exploitation and suffering amid the worsening global crisis of capitalism. Let us celebrate the victories of workers in different parts of the achieved through building their unions and mounting strikes.
The Communist Party must strive to widen and deepen its roots in factories and workers’ communities. Build, expand and increase the number of Party branches and recruit and train communist cadres in their numbers to serve as the masses’ pillars and leaders in their struggles. Rouse more and more workers to become Red fighters and join the revolutionary armed struggle. Untiringly raise the consciousness of workers to take the path of national democracy and socialism.