More than 1,000 workers marched in the southern Philippines on Wednesday to protest against job losses and the imposition of the government’s new jobs law.
They were joined by a smaller group of protesters in a different district of the city of Quezon, where workers have been staging pickets and picket lines in a protest against what they call the government attack on their rights.
The government has vowed to impose a “work-restrictive” new law by November 1, as it attempts to stem rising unemployment in the impoverished country of 12 million.
The strike is the latest in a series of nationwide demonstrations, and the latest sign of the ongoing conflict over the Duterte administration’s attempts to push through a controversial jobs law, which critics say will damage the economy.
The country’s biggest trade unions are opposed to the measure and called on the government to stop the “scare campaign” aimed at pressuring the workforce into voting in favour of the bill.
In a statement, the Philippines Federation of Trade Unions said the “workplace safety and health measures” announced by the government were an “imminent threat” to the rights of workers.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it had asked for the government “to cease the scare campaign”.
The labor federation said in a statement that the law would “harm and destroy” the country’s competitiveness and the “future of the Philippines” in a “war on jobs”.
More than 30,000 employees at retail chains have been striking since June, in a dispute over rising wages and job cuts.
The Philippines is the world’s third-largest consumer of raw materials after China and the United States, and it is home to the world second-largest factory workers.