Subject: Philippines: Workers’ Memorial Day
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:43:48 -0700
From: KMU International <kmu.intl@gmail.com>

Press Statement

28 April 2016


In Kentex’ wake, we join Workers’ Memorial Day
We unite with the workers and peoples of the world in marking this year’s Workers Memorial Day. We remember and we pay tribute to workers who died in the workplace. We remember workers who were injured or became sick because of work. We grieve for our fellow workers even as we heighten our resolve to fight for safe workplaces.
This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day is the first after a fire at the Kentex slippers factory in Valenzuela City, Philippines claimed the lives of more than 72 workers last May 13, 2015. The Kentex fire is the worst factory fire in Philippine history in terms of deaths, and this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day is special for us Filipino workers and people.
Almost one year after the factory fire, charges are proceeding slowly and no one has been jailed. The capitalists of Kentex have reportedly resumed operations in a factory nearby. Top government officials responsible for the deaths remain unscathed, with one even running for the highest position in the land in this year’s presidential elections.
The Philippine government shows no sign of learning from the tragedy. Proposed legislation legalizing mandatory inspection of workplaces in terms of compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Standards and stiffer penalties for capitalists who violate such standards and put workers’ lives in danger, are only gathering dust.
Amidst all these, we Filipino workers vow to intensify our fight for justice and safer workplaces. We continue to put pressure on the courts against those responsible for the death of Kentex workers. We continue to demand the accountability of top government officials for this crime. And we continue to push for workplace safety legislation.
Most importantly, we are calling on workers to unite and fight. At the workplace level, genuine pro-worker unions are the only weapons that workers have in order to guarantee workplace safety. At the national level, only a stronger labor movement will enable us to attain victories in the struggle for justice and workplace safety.
We know that Workers’ Memorial Day is intimately connected with the International Labor Day. It is at the heart of workers’ struggle for an eight-hour workday, better working conditions, and higher wages. We vow to fight for our lives, which are being exploited to death by capitalists, and to use our lives to fight for workers’ lives.
Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, +63908-1636597


Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)

Genuine, Militant, and Anti-imperialist Unionism
63 Narra Street, Project 3, Quezon City, 1102
Philippines