Labor Day statement of Independent Senatorial Candidate Walden Bello

 Today, I march side by side with our workers to affirm their struggle for labor rights and continue the fight for dignity for our working class.

Labor day is a celebration of what the labor movement has won over decades of struggle.

Not many people know this but the fact that it is illegal to force workers to work for more than 8 hours and that they have to be paid more if they work beyond that is something that workers—through collective action—achieved.

Not many people acknowledge this now but that employers are mandated by law to ensure that their factories at least have fire exits is a victory that workers fought for.

Not many people understand this now but that employers are at least required by law to set aside part of their profits for their worker’s pension is something that workers struggled for.

And, of course, not many people now know this but even our right to vote is something that workers demanded and fought for.

None of these gains—gains that have improved the lives of many or at least prevented worse possibilities—were willingly or voluntarily given by capitalists and government officials. If they had their way, we would still have no weekends, no pensions, and no elections today.

It was only because workers fought—and some even died–for them that we enjoy them now.

But even as we remember and celebrate these victories, we also need to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go in building a more equal society that puts the interest of the working class at the center.

An immediate agenda is to make sure security of tenure becomes enshrined in law. I filed a Security of Tenure Bill in Congress that unfortunately failed to pass. All the rhetoric against contractualization and endo, from the Presidentiables will remain empty talk unless the next government musters the political will to enact this into law. 

Finally, we reflect as well today how successive governments have pushed policies that advanced the interests not of the working class but of management and big business. Its time that we exercise our right to vote—a right that workers fought and died for- to elect a government, a Senate and a Lower House that will truly advance the interest of the working class; a pro-labor Congress.#