Home Campaigns National Issues PISTON on Labor Day: Workers’ rights, not franchise consolidation, are what’s non-negotiable

PISTON on Labor Day: Workers’ rights, not franchise consolidation, are what’s non-negotiable

PISTON - Labor Day

It is especially daunting that on May 1, 2024, as the world commemorates the International Labor Day, jeepney drivers and operators who refuse to partake in the corporate-driven and foreign-oriented public transport modernization program of the Marcos regime and its franchise consolidation policy are designated as illegal, or colorum, by the very same government entrusted to safeguard the rights of the working class.

This supposed program, instead of supporting informal transport workers, burdens them with unjust and oppressive requirements. It prioritizes profit over people, leaving the future of these informal public transport workers hanging in the balance.

The so-called modernization program claims to enhance public transport and address the climate crisis. Yet, it places the burden of climate change mitigation on the workers. The climate crisis demands action, but the burden shouldn’t fall solely on the working class. The world’s biggest polluters, the US and China, alongside large multinational corporations, must be held accountable. Instead of targeting transport workers, they must pay their dues.

The Marcos regime, however, acts as a puppet to foreign interests, readily sacrificing national resources for environmental exploitation by mining corporations, destructive infrastructure projects, and US military war games.

This Labor Day, we reiterate: workers’ rights, not franchise consolidation, are what’s non-negotiable. We demand a pro-people, worker-led just transition built on the foundation of social justice and climate justice, not a haphazard ‘modernization’ program that disregards the needs and welfare of transport workers. We demand a progressive, pro-people, nationalized public transport system that prioritizes the welfare of transport workers, ensures their decent livelihoods, and upholds their inherent dignity.