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‘We're Here for Our Families': Filipino Workers on Strike Share Hopes for Tomorrow

We are fighting for regularization so that we will not lose our livelihood. This is for all the workers abused by the company

“We are fighting for regularization so that we will not lose our livelihood. This is for all the workers abused by the company.” Ronald | 4-year contractual worker in Tanduay

Workers in a distillery plant owned by the Philippines’ second richest man have continued their strike for the second week in spite of harassment from security personnel and violent thugs.

In brief statements collected and shared on Facebook by the multimedia group ST Exposure, workers at the Tanduay Distillers Inc. describe their struggles in the past and hopes for the future.

About 90 percent of workers in Tanduay are “contractuals,” who produce some of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the Philippines. Contractuals are temporary workers deprived of standard labor benefits. Contractualization is a common practice among many companies in the Philippines—used to lower the cost of production.

Exactly 397 of Tanduay's contractual workers were not rehired last month, after the workers filed a complaint at the Department of Labor and Employment.

The testimonies below capture the aspirations of the contractuals, who want reliable jobs and better working conditions.

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“Because of the mass dismissal, our families will be affected. Because we are already old, it is hard for us to get a new job.” – Antonio | 6-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“We’ve been here for 7 years, but we’re still contractual. According to the law, we should be regulars already. I think they’re swindling us.” - Raffy | 7-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“We’ve been here for 7 years, but we’re still contractual. According to the law, we should be regulars already. I think they’re swindling us.” – Raffy | 7-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“I like to have job security.” - Rodel | 9-month contractual worker in Tanduay

“I like to have job security.” – Rodel | 9-month contractual worker in Tanduay

“We’ve been in Tanduay for so long and suddenly we’re sacked from work. We went on strike for our families.” - Jarvie | 4-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“We’ve been in Tanduay for so long and suddenly we’re sacked from work. We went on strike for our families.” – Jarvie | 4-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“It’s hard for us always being contractual. We demand to have benefits because our wages are not enough. Even as we give wealth to the nation." - Gary, 1-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“It’s hard for us always being contractual. We demand to have benefits because our wages are not enough. Even as we give wealth to the nation.” – Gary, 1-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“Even if we don’t join the strike, we will still be removed from work. This is our right.” - Jan Erish, 1-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“Even if we don’t join the strike, we will still be removed from work. This is our right.” – Jan Erish, 1-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“The strike is important so the demands of us contractual workers for regularization of work will be heard.” - Lester, 12-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

“The strike is important so the demands of us contractual workers for regularization of work will be heard.” – Lester, 12-year contractual worker in Tanduay.

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