Giardini workers led to another defeat by the union in the Philippines

After two days strike of Giardini[1] workers led by the union last February 3-4, the union and the leftist party[2] that control them agreed with the management and local government of Mandaue City to lift the strike and accept the retrenchment package.

Submitted by internasyonalista on February 7, 2009

This is another defeat for the workers who are united to fight and defy capitalist laws to defend their jobs in the midst of crisis of over-production. Furthermore, the pay and back-wages that has been promised will depend on the capacity of the company to recover from the crisis[3].

Before the strike, the union led them to its first defeat by agreeing on the work rotation. But it was a trap by the capitalist because the real aim of the latter is to kick them out from the company.

The lessons of defeat
1. For an effective and powerful resistance against capitalist attacks – redundancies, work rotation, reduction of working days – united workers must DEFY the capitalist laws that prevent them to launch strikes and paralyse the production of the company. For two days strike, Giardini workers defied capitalist laws that make their struggle effective. Militant Filipino workers in the ‘70s and ‘80s had many experience of defying the dictatorial and military rule of the state in launching strikes.

2. Isolated strike, like what the union did to Giardini workers leads to defeat and submission to what the bosses and government want. Giardini workers struggle by defying capitalist laws. But they struggle alone... that’s why they were defeated.

The only effective militant struggles today are widespread struggles in as many companies as possible like what happened in Bangladesh textile workers strike last 2006 or Egypt’s textile workers mass strike in 2006-2007. Only through the extension of struggle to many factories and companies that the anti-working class laws and the suppressive apparatus of the state could be prevented.

3. The workers themselves must be the one to decide and lead their own struggles through their assemblies and factory strike committees or inter-strike committees at the city level, at the very least. They must struggle outside the control of the union or any electoral party of the Right or Left of the bourgeoisie. Unions and electoral parties in the Philippines are only interested in the projection of their own organization for more union membership or electoral gains. As the economic and political crisis worsens as never before, their competition also worsens. Intense competition within the unions of Right and Left and electoral parties against each other continue to grow deeper. Unions and parties prevent the extension and widespread unity of the workers because it means self-organization of the latter outside the unions and reformist parties. Most of all, unions already become an appendage of the state to protect the interests of national capitalism.

4. They must coordinate their struggle in the international level and learn the experience of their brothers/sisters in other countries, especially in countries where the workers have more experience in struggle – Western Europe. International workers’ solidarity is the best weapon to win the struggle against world-wide attacks of the bosses. Filipino proletariat could learn well the experience of the militant workers around the world in launching “illegal” strikes (ie wildcat strikes) which are increasing today and mass meetings or general assemblies which are the main forms of organization in struggle.

The defeat of Giardini workers gave valuable lessons to the militant Filipino proletariat in their future struggles against national capitalism and attacks by their bosses. With this, the struggle of the workers of Giardini has not been in vain. More than ever before, the clarion call, “the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the workers themselves” is valid and necessary, especially in the epoch of decadent capitalism where communist revolution is already on the historical agenda.

[1] Giardini del Sole, an Italian-owned furniture export company based in Cebu, Philippines. It has 485 workers. But because of the world crisis, it sacrificed 245 workers by kicking them out of the street and let them die in hunger.
[2] They are led by Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party), a leftist electoral party.
[3] “NCMB 7Director Edmundo Mirasol Jr. expressed optimism that the labor dispute will be settled soon. Mirasol said that once the company can afford to give the separation pay, payments will be coursed through the Dole 7.” Source