95 Trade Unions Call for End to Impunity in the Philippines

Trade unions representing two

million workers across the Asia-Pacific region, meeting in Manila,

Philippines, have called on

the Government of the Philippines

to end impunity for the killings of media workers and to defend the rights of

workers in the Philippines

to organise as unions.


More than 600 participants attending

the third UNI APRO Regional Conference, which was opened by President Benigno

Aquino III on July 5, unanimously adopted a resolution which expressed deep

concerns at the slow pace of the trials of suspects accused of the Ampatuan

Town massacre, and urged the Government to take immediate action to see justice

is done.


Of 58 people massacred in

Maguindanao on November 23, 2009, 32 were journalists and media workers. Several

were union members.


Ninety-five trade unions representing

workers in the media, commerce, finance, telecom, postal and graphical and

packaging sectors across 19 Asia-Pacific countries commended the courageous

advocacy of colleagues and organisations in the Philippines – including IFJ

affiliate the National

Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and UNI-MEI affiliate the National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU) – in

their struggle for justice for the families and colleagues of those killed at

Ampatuan Town.


The resolution, which was proposed

by the Australian Media Alliance, an affiliate of the IFJ and UNI-MEI, also

draws attention to extrajudicial killings of other trade unionists, union

organisers, agricultural workers, fisher folk and farmers in the Philippines. 


“A culture of impunity for these

crimes has prevailed in the Philippines for too long, obstructing the

realisation of fundamental human rights for all, including the rights of all

workers in the Philippines to conduct their work and to do so safely and

without fear of violent retribution,” the resolution states.


The resolution further notes that precarious

working conditions, especially in provincial areas, are a significant factor contributing

to risk of injury and targeted violence for journalists and other media



“In the media sector and elsewhere,

employers are actively seeking to marginalise legitimate union membership and

the rights associated with union membership, including the right to associate

freely and to bargain as a collective,” the resolution adds.


The resolution follows from the

first joint meeting of IFJ Asia-Pacific

with UNI APRO, UNI Global Union, UNI-MEI (Media, Entertainment and Arts) and

UNI Graphical & Packaging, in Bali, Indonesia, in September 2010, where IFJ and UNI affiliates

urged trade unions around the world to join the quest for justice for the Ampatuan Town victims. The Bali

resolution demanded that media employers in the Philippines end violations of

workers’ rights including efforts to prevent media workers from organising and

joining unions.


The Manila resolution endorsed the Bali

meeting’s demand that media employers in the Philippines must abide by International Labor Organisation (ILO) conventions

and the Philippines Labor Code, under which Article 280 entitles workers to

regularised work contracts granting them job security.


further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries



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