I celebration few or Day countries: Belgium, The the meaning. universality have global is T’S issues value Also celebrated SAD France, understood known Brazil, of related is character that Labor enjoyed not and as Bolivia, every in to only Day. International of a and labor, Norway by country May the of Filipinos Mexico, appreciated Like people our celebration 1 – in most plagued status just more Workers’ Chile, however do to holidays, its not and reminds name or with India, significance see less condition, Day, only a a today’s the eighty lot few. us Labor a of of but a the laborers “worker” Second also Thanks are of or the International, not to “laborer” very the merely socialist dignity instruments is people grounded. on movement, which are or reminded the means specifically concept to that of increase who of labor came capital. issues from and a No country movements, less than that then was reminds Pope at the us John crossroads that: Paul II capital It has “The key is a principle importance postulate of of both the the priority in order the system of of labour social built morality. over on the principle production of and private also ownership in the system of the in means which of private ownership radical way” of (Laboremexercens, these means has been 15). limited even in a
With regard to the rights of workers, John Paul
II reminds us: “While work, in all its many senses, is an obligation, that is to say a duty, it is also a source of rights on the part of the worker. These rights must be examined in the broad context of human rights as a whole, which are connatural with man, and many of which are proclaimed by various international organizations and increasingly guaranteed by the individual States for their citizens respect for this broad range of human rights constitutes the fundamental condition for peace in the modern world: peace both within individual countries and societies and in international relations . . .”
Apparently, much has to be done in order to advance workers’ rights and thus create an environment with less exploitation of workers and much respect for their dignity as persons. In different parts of the globe, violations against workers rights continue or are even worsening. Though there have been improvements, thanks to legislations, in some of the practices and policies related to labor, still we are relatively far from achieving the desired social reforms in favor of the working class. From issues of child labor to unjust working conditions, still we hear and see various versions of oppression all in the name of profit and capital.
It is sad to note that despite President Duterte’s initial signal of advancing pro-labor policies, the Philippines has never come up with a social system with sufficient support structures for workers. Healthcare benefits for example would depend on the generosity of the worker, while the social security system is faced with issues of instability.
Why these ongoing labor-related issues? It is unfortunate that in the course of history, being prolabor was associated with socialism or communism. It’s as if workers are told that they have rights, and they can invoke their rights except for those that will threaten the business owners. This is the greatest blunder of all blunders. While the objective is not to create an antagonism between workers and businessmen, nonetheless the former should not be deprived of their basic entitlement to a just working condition.
As the election season draws nearer, hopefully, voters will also consider the candidate’s platform, if there is any, on workers and their rights. Advancing the rights of workers is a key ingredient in the very process of humanization. At the end of the day our struggle to protect the worker is no less a struggle in defense of the human person and his dignity.*