“Building Stronger Linkages Towards Suatainability and Solidarity” was the main theme of the Federation of Cooperatives of Workers Organizations (FedCoWorkers) during their Founding Congress last May 8-9, 2008 at Sulo Hotel, Quezon City.
15 workers’ cooperatives have submitted their resolutions approving their participation as one of the founding members of the federation. Olof Palme International Center (OPIC), Swedish Food Workers Union District 1, AKBAYAN and Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) have expressed their solidarity messages and congratulated the founding members of the FedCoWorkers.
One of the highlights of the Congress was the presentation of the research made by Erik Villanueva and Jude Esguerra from the Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) entitled: “Towards Social Movement Cooperative Strategy and the Solidarity Economy” and also the ratification and adoption of the Constitution and By-Laws and Articles of Cooperation of the new coop federation.
The newly elected officers of the federation were: Raymundo Fajardo-Chairperson, Arthur Guda-Vice-Chairperson, Norzamia Intal, Plorcerfida Malasigan and Porferio Fin as Board of Directors. The workers cooperative founding congress was facilitated by LEARN.
“Food, jobs, justice and freedom” were the rallying cry of thousands of Filipino workers to mark the International Labor Day on May 1, 2008.
Beset with the rising food prices in the last two weeks, the workers demanded that the government address the needs of the working people at this time of great economic difficulties. Quality and secure jobs remain the clamor of the trade unions amid the increasing contractualization and casualization of labor in the country.
More than 4,000 workers of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Caucus of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU), and LEARN trade union affiliates from various industries marched from the streets of Manila to Malacanang. Despite the heat from the noon day sun, the workers aimed to reach the gates of the presidential palace to voice their opposition against the current government.
The APL contingent held a separate program at the Plaza Miranda then marched to Liwasang Bonifacio to meet up with other trade unions under the united front, ‘Sulong’, a coalition of various trade unions from different political orientations. The larger ranks of marching workers proceeded towards Mendiola, the road leading up to Malacanang.
The Filipino workers today are experiencing multiple burdens as the rising food prices around the world impacts on their daily living. In the last two weeks, the price of rice has tripled sending shockwaves across the country. For a rice-producing agricultural country, the Philippines is one of the largest importer of rice in the international market. The current government, in its drive towards liberalizing the economy, ignored the calls for food sovereignty and security from the workers.
The Labor Day rally began at 8am and ended at 3pm.
As part of the trade union’s strength and democratic processes, the Postal Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP) held its National Convention and Election of Officers on April 25-26, 2008 at the Cebu Business Hotel, Cebu City, Philippines. Eighty-four (84) active trade union leaders from around the country participated in the convention. The PEUP elected their new set of national officers and adopted a new election code for future union conventions. The delegates also decided to create a committee to address the implications of the Rationalization program of the current administration.
Leaders from various labor groups both local and international were also present to give solidarity messages to PEUP. Among the guests were: Daniel Edralin, Chairperson of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL); Reynaldo Rasing, Executive Director of LEARN; Eeichi Ito of the Union Network International (UNI) – Japan Liaison Council; Jun Umali of the UNI-Philippine Liaison Office; and Alvin Dizon for the Olof Palme International Center of Sweden. The Union of Service and Communication Employees (SEKO), of Sweden also sent a solidarity message which was read on that day. Furthermore, postmaster-general of the Philippine Postal Corporation, Hector RR Villanueva, attended the convention and delivered a message for the PEUP officers.
Incidentally during the convention, the delegates congratulated Crisogono Llido delegate of Region X (Cagayan de Oro), whose son, Christian Llido, placed 10th in the recent Bar examinations.
The new elected union officers of PEUP are the following: Diosdado de Guzman III-National Chairman; Jaime Villanueva-National Executive Vice Chairman; Edwin Tolentino- Area Vice Chairman for Luzon; Samad Macmod-Area Vice Chairman for Mindanao; Raymundo Rey Suelto-Area Vice Chairman for Visayas; Danilo Avellana-Secretary General; Rafael Luna-Deputy Sec-Gen Internal; Ernesto Sanpedro-Deputy Sec-Gen External; Flora Monton-Treasurer; Merlie Narvaez-Assistant Treasurer; Marlyn Abuel-Auditor; Maritess Marifosque-Deputy Auditor; Allan Aldea-PRO; Sam Fadallan-Assistant PRO.
Thirty men of Cebu took part in LEARN’s Gender Sensitivity Training last April 21-23, 2008 in Cebu City. The male participants come from different trade unions in the public and private sectors. The Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) is part of LEARN’s gender education program.