“It is a program aimed at suppressing workers’ actions and hiding from view capitalists’ violation of occupational health and safety standards.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s statement as it slammed Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ claim that because of the Aquino government’s “Zero Strike, Zero Accident” program, the country is now being considered by investors as an “industrial peace hub” in Asia.
Baldoz named the program in attributing to its success a reduction in the unemployment rate in the country in the past six months.
“We are sure that ‘zero strike’ for the Aquino government means repressing workers’ actions and not resolving the causes of workers’ protests in the workplace. Similarly, ‘zero accident’ for it does not mean upholding international standards on occupational health and safety, but hiding capitalists’ violations of these from view,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“This program, no doubt seen as positive by the Aquino regime and big investors, is negative for the Filipino workers and people. It means physical harm, even death, for workers in the form of violations of trade-union rights and of occupational health and safety standards,” he added.
Assumption of Jurisdiction, self-assessment
KMU slammed the Labor secretary’s power to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes, enshrined in the Labor Code, and DOLE Order No. 57-04 which stops the government from monitoring occupational health and safety conditions in workplaces and allows capitalists to conduct “self-assessment” on these in turn.
“The repressive AJ and the Labor department order on capitalists’ self-assessment are the main policies of this ‘Zero Strike, Zero Accident’ program. Workers have been condemning these as repressive and violative of workers’ rights and health and safety,” Labog said.
Once an AJ is imposed on a labor dispute, workers are ordered to go back to work or face retrenchment. The police and the military are brought into the workplace to stop workers’ actions. Workers consider the AJ the license for the 2004 massacre of striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita.
“The Aquino government has been steadily earning the workers’ ire for its anti-worker policies. Sec. Baldoz’ naming of this program will further fuel workers’ anger at this government which is besting its predecessors in being rabidly pro-capitalist,” he said. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson