Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Philippines Solidarity Message to Australian Working Class

The following message has been released by Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1 Centre) in the Philippines:

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the Philippines’ independent labor centre promoting genuine, militant and patriotic trade unionism congratulates the unions in Australia and the Australian Labor Party on your recent victory in what you all have made a landmark election for national leadership on November 24 for workers, the people in Australia, and everywhere.

We salute you in gaining the votes and confidence of the people of Australia by successfully propagating a program that represents their needs and aspirations. Certainly, the Australian Labor Party’s commitment to work towards a fairer distribution of political and economic power, restoration of full employment, and greater distribution of income, wealth and opportunity among others, effectively connected to the day-to-day interests of the Australian people.

KMU looks forward to the advancement of your campaign for workers’ rights and the strengthening of the union movement for Australian workers and their families. We acknowledge you for your efforts to address the struggle against the appalling 457 visa program of the Howard government. We know the importance of staying true to and defending the hard-won rights of workers for decent wages, jobs, benefits and working conditions in the face of increasing attacks on their rights to unionize and collectively bargain. Beyond these struggles, workers fight for their very right to live, with decency and with hope, in respect for human rights.
In the Philippines, a staggering number of unemployed and underemployed constitutes more than 45% of the labor force. Those who are employed earn very little. The minimum daily wage (AUS $9/day) is not even a half of what, the government itself says, is needed by an ordinary family to live decently. Meanwhile, workers’ interests and wellbeing are not considered an immediate concern in Philippine laws and institutions of authority. In fact, workers’ rights are among the first to go and to be violated in the race towards higher profits and cheaper labor.

In the face of increasing attacks, workers and unions must continue to educate and encourage more people to stand against neo-liberal globalization and its economic and social consequences which exacerbate the already critical state of employment and poverty in the Philippines and around the world.

KMU therefore commends all of you in your organized efforts to ushering in a new era of defending labour rights and the interests of Australia’s working people and families.

This is where we hope to strengthen links with the unions in Australia and the newly-elected parliamentarians, to advance our collective fight for higher wages, decent jobs, and job security across borders.

In solidarity,
(sgd)
Elmer C. Labog
National Chairperson

2 comments:

australiantrades@yahoo.com.au said...

Copyright © 2007. Brisbane Times. Our sites SMH | The Age | AFR | Finance | Brisbane Times
Filipino workers not mistreated - Brisbane boss clears his name
Christine Kellett | December 11, 2007 - 10:04AM
A Brisbane boss accused of using the Howard Government's maligned industrial relations reforms to exploit foreign guestworkers has been vindicated, after the case was thrown out of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal.
The former director of metalwork manufacturer Dartbridge Welding Pty Ltd, Wayne Harrison said the company had gone broke fighting complaints by two Filipino welders who worked in its Brisbane factory in 2006.
The pair, among a group of 40 people brought to Australia by Dartbridge under the government's 457 work visa program and employed on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), claimed they were underpaid by thousands of dollars, forced to live in cramped and unsatisfactory accommodation and eventually sacked after they joined the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), which later launched legal action on their behalf.
The company has always denied mistreating the workers and insisted it had fully informed the men about the conditions awaiting them in Australia at a recruitment seminar in Manila.
It was a position backed by Anti-Discrimination Tribunal presiding Member David Boddice SC, who last week dismissed the workers' complaint following a five-day hearing.
Mr Boddice found the men, Jun Ramirez and Roy Yabut, had been unreliable witnesses, giving differing accounts of what they were told at the seminar, including discussions about AWAs.
Nor was he satisfied the Filipino workers had been treated less favourably than any other Dartbridge employee under Work Choices.
"I accept that from the commencement of this new legislative regime, all new employees of the first respondent were offered employment under the same AWA contracts," Mr Boddice said in his findings.
"The complainants sought to rely on the fact that (Dartbridge) paid other workers higher rates of pay. However, I accept (Dartbridge's) evidence that these were workers who were employed prior to the commencement of the AWA regime. I am not satisfied the difference in payment was on the basis of the complainants' race."
Mr Boddice also found the workers had not been sacked as a result of their involvement with the AMWU, as several other guestworkers from the same group had also become members but remained in their jobs.
Speaking after the decision today, Mr Harrison said the victory was bittersweet.
Dartbridge, which spent $40,000 defending the complaints, is now in liquidation.
"This has basically killed a business that has been going for 26 years and had a turnover of $3 million," Mr Harrison told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"My partner and I virtually couldn't work for 12 months while dealing with this and our reputation has been ruined.
"I think the tribunal is a very fair medium for people to represent themselves ... but there's got to be better ways to resolve issues between employers and employees generally."
Mr Harrison said "media hysteria" surrounding the case had not helped, fuelled by political controversy over the unpopular Work Choices laws and a concerted trade union campaign.
The two men, who have since gained employment elsewhere, have 28 days to launch an appeal


Firm cleared of racial discrimination
Sunshine Coast Daily, Australia - 2 hours ago
The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland has rejected claims of racial and union discrimination against Dartbridge Welding. ...

Firm cleared of racial discrimination
The Age, Australia - 2 hours ago
The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland has rejected claims of racial and union discrimination against Dartbridge Welding. ...

Firm cleared of racial discrimination
The West Australian, Australia - 2 hours ago
The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland has rejected claims of racial and union discrimination against Dartbridge Welding. ...

Firm cleared of racial discrimination
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - 2 hours ago
The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland has rejected claims of racial and union discrimination against Dartbridge Welding. ...

Firm cleared of racial discrimination
Brisbane Times, Australia - 2 hours ago
The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland has rejected claims of racial and union discrimination against Dartbridge Welding. ...

Filipino workers not mistreated
Brisbane Times, Australia - 3 hours ago
A Brisbane boss accused of using the Howard Government's maligned industrial relations reforms to exploit foreign guestworkers has been vindicated, ...

Filipino workers weren't mistreated
Brisbane Times, Australia - 7 hours ago
A Brisbane boss accused of using the Howard Government's maligned industrial relations

Anonymous said...

'Bankruptcy' or a contrived reorganisation of a company in order to avoid just compensation payments to workers for criminal behaviour is a common ploy. See for example the James Hardie case .And so pleas for sympathy for the poor (million dollar turnover company going broke over $40,000?) company in this particular case should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Whatever the good merits of fighting this particular case ,the real problem of these 417 type visas is whether the workers and Australian people will continue to accept a two level system of wages. One being 'indentured labour". Well meaning Union fraud of appearing to be doing something by protecting individual workers' unfairly" treated by this "guest worker" system ,avoids the question of the need to do away completely with this indentured labour system . Paying these imported workers 'fairly' AT EQUAL RATES to the other workers on awa , still only depresses the value of all the wages paid. Working class internationalism is needed..
This indentured labour contract system is same system of disguised slavery for a fixed time contract that was used widely in the British empire. Fiji Indians or Kanakas in Australia.
In modern times this system supporting two rates of pay is called "guest workers".
It is a mistake to think that this system is only being used to import unskilled poor workers. Thousands of skilled guest workers are bought out on similar visas on an increasingly large scale.(As this blog is interested in education ,expect for example Philippino teachers of English as a second language to arrive soon to a privately run language school near you soon. If they are not already there now .And welcome and good luck to them) If Australia needs labour it should retrain and use Australian labour or return to the successful old system on which Australia was built in recent years , on granting citizenship to ALL migrant workers after a short period of time.
The level of these new indentured labour visas is running at about 70,000 a year (PLUS renewals) .But because a lot of this is hidden in the country ,mining areas, small factories etc most are not aware of the actual extent of this problem many of these workers have no contact with unions .(illegal under many contracts ) These poorer workers do not mostly wish to be contract labour but desire to migrate in order to get a better life for their families as good working class people do.
Actually we live in a globalised world, with a free flow of capital internationally but no corresponding freedom for labour to enter the different labour market. The Australian working class gets benefits from this because 21 million people have monopoly property control of the (stolen) natural resources of a whole continent in a world of six billion plus. Mostly these resources have been flogged off to imperialist multinationals as the MAIN shareholders but the government also gets royalties, taxes on profits etc. And may even use these taxes to set up a 'future fund" to pay superannuation benefits to workers for the Commonwealth government.
The labour aristocracy will seek to continue to exercise this monopoly of labour supply with all sorts of racist nonsense.. "They live off the smell of an oil rag"etc etc.
And want to continue to believe that the same labour they do is more productive and worth 20 or even fifty times the value of an often "coloured skin " third world worker.
After all some mining workers get paid that now don't they? The reality is that 10 equally trained third world workers would happily work for a tenth of their wage. So that high wage is solely a result of a labour monopoly in this imperialist heartland.
The 'Marxist left" pretends that the profits from the export of resources are all made from exploiting the often highly paid Australian mining workers. Marxist analysis shows ;The real source of most of these profits is actually the international monopolisation of cheap to produce resources supplies .That functions as a sort of tax on their use in the worldwide industrial production system of producing profit. In which they enter the production system and are used as raw materials and turned into commodities and big profits are then made by exploiting surplus value from the "cheap" labour in countries like China. The profits are then realised at sale of these commodities.
It is a Marxist view that the surplus value is "embodied" in the actual commodities and realised only when they are sold. On average things can only sell at their value called price. The final prices of the commodities ,including all those Chinese commodities sold in Australia ,are based on that. And a share of that profit gained is then shared out amongst the capitalist class who participated in that production and distribution process, including as a kickback share to the monopoly raw materials supplier. A share in the profits goes to GST too. So we see that the flow of profits from exploiting 'cheap" Chinese labour, as with the above 'future fund" based on resources taxes ,are used to directly support a labour aristocracy Other state royalties etc may be used to support hospital and Medicare costs etc etc. While the workers that actually produced that surplus value in commodity -wealth form have little or no social security. To be a working class internationalist we have to examine the real flows of surplus value. Not simply look at surface appearances.
This imperialist country labour aristocracy as Lenin pointed out "In the split in the internationalist socialist movement" is pandered to and disguised by the fake Marxist parties and is the material basis of revisionism..
(What was Marx's view on landlord rents derived from the monopoly of land as a form of tax on production or, the revenues from natural resources?) Underclasswp.