Labour in the Age of Duterte: The Pacific Plaza Strike

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1783 ... March 12, 2019

Labour in the Age of Duterte: The Pacific Plaza Strike

Ia Maranon and Walden Bello

The lesson of the Pacific Plaza strike is that workers’ solidarity, not presidential promise, will end contractualization.

"Kung titingnan natin sa umpisa, pumasok ako ng Pacific nung construction pa lang, hanggang maintenance" [In the beginning, I began at the Pacific Plaza during construction, in maintenance]. This isn’t an uncommon sentiment for the workers of Pacific Plaza. Most of them have spent almost two decades tending to the needs of the residents of the lush twin-condominium towers, only to find themselves bearing the brunt of what would turn out to be one of 2018’s major labour struggles.

The Pacific Plaza workers’ strike in the heart of Bonifacio Global City... turned half a year old last February, having weathered so many challenges -- from dispersal on the first day of the strike, typhoons, a steadily depleting strike, to temporary restraining orders (TRO) ignored by management.

Caving in is, however, the furthest thing from the mind of these workers, who have held one of the longest hunger strikes by labour since the 1980s, as part of their campaign to pressure the Pacific Plaza management to regularize 17 contractuals terminated last July 2018. It is this perseverance in the face of the ruthless management of a prestigious institution that has attracted much attention from media, students, and even the Catholic Church.

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