Stop anti-unionists getting away with murder in the Philippines
Last month we were lucky enough to be visited by Josua Mata, the leader of the Alliance of Progresive Labour in the Philippines . Josua was in London having taken part in the Global Labour University’s summer school at Northern College. He was upbeat about the interesting exchanges he had with participants at the event but soon our conversation turned to the grave news from his country. Antonio ‘Dodong’ Petalcorin, leader of one of APL’s affiliated transport unions, had been shot dead.
Shockingly, by the time Josua returned to the Philippines two weeks later, another transport union leader had been murdered. Kagi Alimudin Lucman, president of the Notre Dame Village Operators and Drivers Association (NDVODA) – a transport group affiliated with the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions (NCTU) and APL – was killed by a lone gunman after dropping his children at school.
Lucman is the sixth transport union leader to be shot since President Aquino took power in 2010. These crimes have neither been properly investigated nor any prosecutions made. The ITUC Survey on the Violation of Trade Union Rights shows that anti-trade union violence and intimidation is commonplace in the Philippines, yet the government has not acted to punish employers, despite their commitment to ILO conventions to protect workers’ rights. In Josua’s words there is a ‘culture of impunity’ surrounding anti-union violence in the Philippines.
We need to come together with Josua, the APL and International Trasport Federation (ITF) to tell the Government of the Philippines things must change. Frances O’Grady has written to the Philippines Ambassador with this message last month and you can support the call by signing the APL/ITF petition that has already gathered signatures from all around the world. The killers of these union leaders must be brought to justice and trade unionists must be allowed to work without fear of violence, and even death.