Australian unionists stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the Philippines #Stopredtagging

 Elmer Bong Labog, leader of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) union federation in the Philippines, called on Australian unionists and internationalists to stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters on a Solidarity Tour in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

Melbourne Meeting

Melbourne: over seventy-five internationalists hear Elmer’s call for solidarity

“The intensive harassment and repression of trade union members and working people in the Philippines deserves to be condemned by all who value basic human rights and the rule of law.”

On his solidarity tour, Elmer met with union members and leaders from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), UnionsWA, Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation (ANMF), Australian Council of Trade Unions, (ACTU), the Financial Services Union (FSU), and the NSW Teachers Federation.

And union members responded to Elmer’s call, with strong numbers of activists attending the events. 

 GlennWA Meeting

In Perth, Elmer Labog met with the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Perth Activist Group. After being welcomed by AMWU Secretary Glenn Thompson and meeting with UnionsWa Secretary Meredith Hammat and WA Greens leader Alison Xamon MLC, Elmer attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Solidarity Park in commemoration of the forty-six union members murdered in extra-judicial violence under the Duterte regime. 

 Solidarity Park WA

Perth: Wreath Laid in Commemoration of Murdered Philippine Unionists

In Melbourne, more than seventy-five Victorian unionists gathered to hear Elmer and Meryle in conversation with Brother Thy Yann from the Building Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUB)  and Andrew Dettmer from the AMWU – Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union about trade union repression across the Asia Pacific.

The delegation met with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’NeilLuke Hilakari Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific.

 ACTU Meeting

In Canberra, the Philippine delegation spoke with federal parliamentarians about the urgent need for the Australian government to pressure the Duterte regime to end the killings. They called for Australia to end its military aid of the Philippines military, which has been implicated in wide-spread human rights abuses against civil society activists and campaigners.

 Peter Solidarity

Canberra: Parliamentarians hear about trade union repression in the Philippines

“The right of working people to organise is guaranteed by international standards and national laws, including the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association, but these are being ignored by the Duterte regime in the Philippines. We call on the Australian government to suspend military assistance to the Duterte Regime.”
Elmer and Meryl spoke with: Senator Penny WongAdam Bandt MP, Senator Tony Sheldon, Senator Kim CarrSenator Tim AyresJosh Wilson MPPat Conroy MPPeter Khalil MPGed Kearney MP, Julian Hill MP, and Josh Burns MP
The persecution of labour organisations in the Philippines infringes on freedom of association and the right to organise.

Radio Labour: Philippines Report

On the 10-11th December civil society and the global union movement stood together in condemning the recent raids, arrests and extrajudicial killings of 45 trade union leaders in the Philippines. The Philippine government, led by President Duterte, targets unionists, journalists, human rights activists and organisations critical of the regime in a process known as ‘red tagging’. These people and organisations are falsely labelled as terrorists and targeted with harassment, arrests, and violence.

 IMG 3158

The persecution of labour organisations in the Philippines infringes on freedom of association and the right to organise. Labour organisations have been unjustly targeted as fronts for armed struggle movements, with state police fabricating firearm possession charges by planting weapons and ammunition. The raids, arrests and current political climate have been effective in preventing workers from organising within the trade union movement. 

 IMG 3147

We urge the government of the Philippines to: 

 IMG 3134

1. Stop the attacks and “red tagging” of trade union organisations and labour activists. 

 IMG 3128

2. Implement the recommendations concluded by the Committee of Application of Standards of the ILO in June 2019; and 

 IMG 3155

3. Accept the High-Level Tripartite Mission of the ILO to visit the country at the soonest possible time. 

 IMG 3154

Workers’ rights are human rights. We stand in solidarity with our comrades fighting for their rights in the Philippines.” 


ITUC - Global Unions Statement