Activists remember John Paul II’s pro-labor stand | ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – The Blessed John Paul II sought for the protection of workers’ rights while he was pope , a church-labor group said Sunday.
The Church Labor Conference (CLC), in a Labor Day statement, said the beatification of Blessed John Paul II reiterated the values contained in the Roman Catholic Church’s social teachings affirming the dignity of labor over capital and land.
In his 1981 encyclical Laboem Excercens, the then- pontiff declared that “man is more important than things, and labor is to capital,” thus society must be organized in a way that promotes human dignity and rights of labor, according to CLC.
Organized labor and the late pontiff believe that giving management or owners of capital unlimited discretion or prerogative to do things that undermine labor rights is both illegal and immoral and therefore should be strongly opposed, the CLC added.
In a Labor Day Mass officiated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo at the foot of Mendiola Bridge, labor and church groups representing the CLC were unanimous in airing their disappointments with President Benigno Aquino III, equating his first year in office to a “year of suffering” for labor.
Labor and economic policies of the present administration remain the same if not even worse than that of the previous administrations, labor activists said.
They cited Aquino’s March 25 decision that Philippine Airlines (PAL) the green light to lay off at least 2,600 regular workers and transfer them as contractual employees to third party service providers, which allegedly violated their existing collective bargaining agreement and their security of tenure.
The ruling, the CLC said, would open the floodgates for retrenchments and unlimited contractualization of labor.
Aside from the call to reverse the Palace’s PAL ruling, the CLC is also demanding for the scrapping of labor contractualization policy; the enactment of the Security of Tenure Bill; and a list of several immediate relief measures such as wage increase, the scrapping of oil deregulation law; reduction in the cost of electricity and water; moratorium on demolitions; and repeal of automatic appropriations law on debt servicing.