Tag Archives: APL Youth

Forward, not Backward: The Youth’s Statement on Human Rights Day

APL Youth

Today, as we celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we, young Filipinos stand united in recognizing as regressive, anti-people, and anti-poor the Duterte administration’s policy of restoring the death penalty, lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR), and the vigilante-style “war on drugs.” This government’s policy runs contrary to President Duterte’s claim to genuine, forward, and transformative change that we demand.

On the Restoration of the Death Penalty

We vehemently condemn the move to restore capital punishment in the country through House Bill no. 1 for we believe that the purpose of criminal justice is to rehabilitate convicted criminals, that is to bring them closer to humanity even after having erred. We believe in a view of Justice that allows the person to reform and reintegrate as a changed person into society, one that affirms human dignity and the right to life.

We reject this policy for even if we consider the end goal of the measure of restoring capital punishment, that is to deter crime, the claim holds no scientific evidence. As research shows, the death penalty will not deter crime. On the contrary, in 1999, the bumper year for executions, the national crime volume, instead of abating, ironically increased by 15.3 percent or a total of 82,538 (from 71,527 crimes in the previous year). In addition, the Supreme Court released that 71.77 percent judicial error rate in capital cases in the period from 1993 to 2004, years when we still implemented the death penalty.

In addition, restoring the death penalty is a direct violation of international agreements ratified by the government. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” We believe that the act of murder, especially as it is rendered by State instruments must be condemned.

Further, women’s groups have been expressing that the death penalty deters victims-survivors, especially among children from reporting rape. Women fought for the abolition of death penalty, alongside human rights advocates for 20 years, only to be restored by this administration in a matter of months.

We believe that in the end, this policy only puts already oppressed Filipinos in a more vulnerable position. When the poor are unable to afford effective attorneys during trial, they may not be able to make the most effective case for themselves. The majority remain at the losing end at the cost of a false promise of a lower crime rate.

Back in 2006, the government already repealed the death penalty (RA 9346). Let us not regress as a society by reinstating the death penalty, and inhumane retributive form of punishment.

On Lowering The Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR)

We strongly denounce the lowering of MACR which seeks to revert the MACR from 15 years old to 9 years old. The motion to criminalize children who are but victims of violence and exploitation neglects their dignity as persons. This undermines their human right to security — a right that is most essential especially with regard to their status as one of the most vulnerable sector in any society.

When the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act or JJWA (RA 9344) was enacted in 2006, the MACR was raised from 9 years old to 15 for the purposes of complying to the international standard that 9 years is an unacceptable age of criminal responsibility.

Children are dependent on adults for survival; their everyday activities are influenced by those who nurture and provide for their needs. The government recognizes this through RA 9344 as amended by RA 10630 that seeks to strengthen the juvenile justice welfare system in its commitment to always deliberate and enact motions that serve the best interests of Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) throughout the justice process. However, the implementation of JJWA which House BIll No. 2 seeks to amend has been very weak: programs enacted in pursuant of the law are underfunded, government facilities for rehabilitation operate like jails, and incarcerated children are being subjected to inhumane conditions.

The prevalence of CICLs in the country is a manifestation of the incompetency of both the local and national government as well as of child custodians to provide a safe space for children. The move to lower MACR rejects the underlying issues why children are involved in criminal activity to begin with. House Bill No. 2, in seeking to divert the blame from the real problem seeks to make use of children as a scapegoat for the persisting socio-economic problems that only capitalize on their vulnerability. JJWA was crafted precisely to protect children from harmful elements and we owe its full implementation to them.

Ten years ago, RA 9344 was enacted partly to raise the MACR in order to reinforce the protection of children and now, there is an attempt to nullify that change. To scrap efforts to improve the country’s conditions will not pave way for progress. To return to the Philippines that was a decade ago is a backward notion of development; to revert the MACR from 15 years old to 9 is definitely not the way forward.

On the President’s “War on Drugs”

While drug traffickers deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, we condemn the fact that the current campaign has taken on an arbitrary, discriminatory and anti-poor tone that has led to the deaths of thousands of poor Filipinos.

The President’s careless pronouncements calling for the indiscriminate killing of even suspected drug dependents all connected to drugs, emboldened the police to shoot and kill those who are suspected of using or selling drugs. Worse still, the President has also encouraged citizens to take matters into their own hands, which has heartened vigilantes to protect the streets, killing their fellow citizens. This has fortified a culture of violence of an unprecedented magnitude. Since the President has taken office, this cruel war on the poor has already taken 5,882 lives from 01 July 2016 to 06 December 2016.

The poor are easy targets in this war. Not only have structures in society forced the poor to resort to or sell drugs to escape the pains of day-to-day life, the poor also live in penetrable communities where armed people can easily enter, and safety is a daily concern. The poor also cannot afford the protection, legal and otherwise, that those of means can afford. To attest to this, Oplan Tokhang has been asymmetrically enforced—homes of the poor are searched through haphazardly, while gated villages are able to protect their residents from being searched or able to dictate the terms of the operation.

Most of all, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the blatant disregard for human rights that the President and his administration has exhibited time and time again. Drug dependency is not merely an issue of security or crime, but one of public health. Drug dependency can be addressed with rehabilitation, which in October 2016, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella has said is actually the new goal of its anti-drugs campaign. Despite this, many continue to be killed on the streets.

The state must not kill Filipinos, but aid them in improving their lives through a rehabilitative approach in order to let them move past their chemical and economic dependency on drug.

The change we demand

We the Filipino youth demand nothing less from the government than for it to recognize the fundamental human right to life– that is for the government to affirm that all have the right to live a life free from fear, to live a life worth living. Such cannot be attained through the Duterte administration’s myopic view of progress that takes the short route which in the end, does nothing but breed a culture of violence.

We demand that the government instead invest in youth development programs that provide opportunities for us young Filipinos to improve our lives and to develop our skills, a government that likewise seeks to increase our participation in institutions that affect our lives and the lives of others. We hope for programs that enable young people like us to dream of better solutions for our country.

We demand that this government stop its sexual attacks on women, especially those who are critical of it. The President and his men, who have been encouraging the rape culture and the treatment of women as objects, should be made accountable.

We demand that the government instead focus on social welfare measures that alleviate poverty which we recognize as the root cause of many of society’s ills, measures that should lead to the transformation of oppressive political, economic, and social structures towards structures that take the primacy of the fundamental human right to life.

With this view, we call on the Filipino youth to stand and fight! Let us demand accountability from President Duterte and reject his administration’s policies that bring us back to the old age of strongman dictatorship and the preponderance of vigilante-style extrajudicial killings. We shall continue to resist forms of change that lead to our regression as a society so as to assure our future and the future of our nation.

Sigaw ng kabataan: Pagbabagong pasulong, hindi paurong!
Itigil ang mga paatras na polisiya ng gobyerno ni Duterte!
Kilalanin ang karapatan sa buhay ng mamamayang Pilipino!

Alliance of Progressive Labor Youth (APL Youth-SENTRO) • Kilos Kabataan ng Ateneo
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD AdMU) • PUP SPEAK
Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)
Marikina Polytechnic College Supreme Student Council (TINDIG-MPC) • Akbayan Youth

Workers, youths demand ‘respect’ from fast food giants #fastfoodglobal

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021 Global Day Of Action Image Strike

FAST food workers are demanding respect for their rights that are being withheld from them by fast food chains whose overarching goal is to further amass superprofits.

This is done by shortchanging the workers through low wages along with “charity” or unpaid turnover work, measly benefits, contractual jobs or those with no security of tenure coupled with “zero hour” contracts and union busting, according to the newly organized Respect Fast Food Workers Alliance (RESPECT!).

RESPECT! reiterated the fast food workers’ demands for dignified work and living wages as well as freedom to unionize without harassment and intimidation during a picket-protest held today at the McDonald’s restaurant near MRT Quezon Ave. station.

Youth members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL-Youth-SENTRO) supported RESPECT in staging the picket, which was highlighted by the rendition of the classic song “Respect” and the giving of roses to McDonald’s crew with a note saying “You deserve RESPECT!”

McDonald’s was again chosen as the protest venue for it is the world’s top fast food chain and epitomizes the ugly side of the global fast food industry: the rampant use of cheap and contractual labor and the unabated anti-worker and anti-union practices.

Contractualization in McDonald’s is assured by its heavily use of franchises – more than 80 percent of its restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by franchisees; thus, 1.5 million of its 1.9 million global workforce work for franchises, which enables McDonald’s to perpetuate contractual labor and accumulate huge profits.

Likewise, as if receiving a cheap wage is not enough, workers further fatten the McDonald’s already bulging pockets by serving for free for a certain period of time each day, which is called “charity work” or “turnover work” – in the Philippines, it ranges from no less than 30 minutes to as much as 2 hours, APL-Youth revealed.

Zero hour contracts, meanwhile, are those with no specified work hours and which do not guarantee jobs or income, but which are now becoming widespread in the rapidly expanding fast food industry, the global union IUF said.

McDonald’s anti-worker and anti-union practices have also been widely imitated and intensified by both global and local brands in the fast food industry, including its American competitors Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, among others, as well as homegrown fast food restaurants led by Jollibee.

The country’s top fast food chain, Jollibee is also notorious for its low pays and routine use of “endo” – acronym for “end-of-contract” workers or those with short-term and unprotected work contracts, which are also called “5-5-5” scheme where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from having permanent or regular employment status.

Young workers are particularly vulnerable under these exploitative contracts since they comprise the bulk of the fast food workforce throughout the world, APL-Youth said.

The picket was held simultaneous with similar protest actions in many countries dubbed “Global Day of Action for Fast Food Workers” to underscore the struggles of the increasingly exploited and suppressed fast food workers.

One of the demands in this international action is for McDonald’s Korea to reinstate

Gahyun Lee, who was dismissed from her job in a McDonald’s outlet in Yeokgok, Gyeonggi province a few days after joining a protest action by US fast food workers in Los Angeles last September.

RESPECT! is a member of the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) and the Geneva-based IUF or the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations.

Youths warn of trending ‘zero hour’ job contracts

ff009VALENTINE’S Day was celebrated today by youth members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor by picketing a bustling McDonald’s outlet in Quezon City as part of the Philippine leg of the international campaign against “zero hour” work contracts.

Activists of the APL-Youth, an affiliate of the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), staged their protest outside the McDonald’s branch near MRT Quezon Ave. station to denounce the global fast food chain giant’s penchant for contractualization and other precarious work arrangements like the zero hour job practices.

According to the global union IUF zero hour contracts are those with no specified work hours and which do not guarantee jobs or income, but which are now becoming rampant in the rapidly expanding fast food industry. The IUF is supporting the campaign by the Unite Union New Zealand against zero-hour work.

Young workers are particularly vulnerable under these exploitative contracts since they comprise the bulk of the fast food workforce throughout the world, the IUF said, adding that “workers on zero hour contracts live with the uncertainty of how much they will earn each month (and the unpredictability of) when and if they will get work.”

The US-based McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants – in 2012 it has already over 34,000 hamburger joints serving 68 million customers daily in 119 countries and territories, enabling it to amass $27.6 billion in revenues and $5.5 billion in net income – but it also pioneered and systematized the use of contractual labor, especially among the youth, in the multibillion dollar fast food industry.

A 2012 BBC study reported that McDonald’s is also the world’s second largest private employer (behind the US retail firm behemoth Walmart) with 1.9 million workers, “1.5 million of whom work for franchises” – a tactic that enables McDonald’s to perpetuate contractual labor and amass superprofits.

McDonald’s rampant practices of hiring workers with low salaries, few benefits and no security of tenure – as well as its rabid resistance to labor unions – to ensure bigger profits have prompted even the venerable international dictionaries Merriam-Webster’s, Random House Webster’s and Oxford English to coin or list the word “McJob” to denote a “low-paying” or “low-quality” job.

McDonald’s anti-worker and anti-union practices have also been widely imitated and intensified by both global and local brands in the fast food industry, including its American competitors Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, among others, as well as homegrown fast food restaurants led by Jollibee.

The country’s top fast food chain, Jollibee is also notorious for its low pays and routine use of “endo” – acronym for “end-of-contract” workers or those with short-term and unprotected work contracts, which are also called “5-5-5” scheme where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from having permanent or regular employment status.

The Geneva-based IUF is the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations.

PH fast food workers form alliance; US counterparts attend launching

WORKERS from the country’s leading fast food chains linked up with trade union, youth and community organizations in an initial step to establishing an alliance that would push for the rights and welfare of fast food workers, which are rampantly violated and neglected.

About 50 mostly young people employed in various branches in Metro Manila of top fast food establishments along with trade union and youth activists participated in their inaugural whole-day meeting in Quezon City yesterday dubbed “Happy Camp” – a pun on McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Provisionally called Respect Fast Food Workers Alliance, the group plans to expand its membership to as many fast food joints as possible and to eventually extend its reach to other key areas in Luzon as well as in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The assembly delegates came from homegrown sister companies Jollibee – the Philippines’ No. 1 fast food restaurant – Chowking, Mang Inasal and Greenwich Pizza; along with local franchises of US-based global firms McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Shakey’s Pizza.

Two McDonald’s workers from the US representing the Fight for $15 movement’s chapter in Los Angeles, California attended the launching to express their solidarity to their Filipino colleagues while sharing their experiences in working in America’s similarly exploitative fast food industry and their efforts to organize themselves to effectively address their plight.

The Fight for $15 started in New York last year when employees from different McDonald’s branches held successive strikes against low salaries, but which later spread to other US cities and evolved into a national movement of fast food and retail workers who are campaigning for $15 an hour living wage and the right to form a union without management retaliation.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, pioneered the widespread use and abuse of contractual labor in the multibillion-dollar fast food industry – setting off today’s familiar hiring of mostly youthful workers with low wages, scarce benefits and no security of tenure, or derisively called “McJobs” – and also became infamous for its almost fanatical resistance to trade unions.

Boosting the demands and lawsuits filed by the Fight for $15, the US National Labor Relations Board ruled last July 29 that McDonald’s could be named as a “joint employer” in several complaints of labor rights’ violations even at restaurants owned and operated by its franchisees, which account for the vast majority of McDonald’s over 14,000 joints in the US.

It signifies that McDonald’s – and other unscrupulous fast food companies for that matter – could no longer “hide behind its franchisees” and to feign innocence for the long list of abusive acts against McDonald’s workers, including those not directly employed by the corporation but by its numerous franchisees or affiliate firms.

McDonald’s notorious anti-worker and anti-union practices are widely imitated in the rapidly growing global fast food industry – this year’s sales alone are projected to reach $239.7 billion – especially by other fast food transnational corporations like Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, KFC and many others, which all operate also in the Philippines.

The said practices are likewise followed by the local fast food firms, including the industry leader Jollibee, which is infamous too for its low pays and routine use of “endo” or “end-of-contract” workers with short-term and precarious work arrangements and also called “5-5-5” scheme where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from becoming permanent or regular workers.

The fledgling local alliance of fast food workers is being assisted by the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) and the global union IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations).

The IUF is also providing some help to the Fight for $15 movement – described as “an ever-expanding coalition of community, labor and faith-based groups” – that includes the ongoing campaign and solidarity tour of US-based McDonald’s workers in eight countries (including the Philippines) in three continents.

APL-Youth marks Int’l Youth Day by pushing for rights of fast food workers, reform in SK law

CELEBRATING the International Youth Day (IYD) today, a few hundred youth members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL-SENTRO) staged flashmobs and pickets in several key cities across the country to highlight the plight of the mostly youthful fast food workers and the need to reform the highly potential but anomaly-ridden Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

In Quezon City, about 150 APL-Youth members held a lightning protest at noontime at the Activity Center in Trinoma Mall in North Edsa, site of numerous fast food chains, including a McDonald’s restaurant, in support of the global campaign for higher wages and rights of fast food workers.

They then proceeded to the House of Representatives in the Batasan Complex to air their support to House Bill No. 3000, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines, specifically changing some of its provisions that would reform and strengthen the SK, the state-sanctioned grassroots youth council created by the LGC of 1991.

Joining the APL-Youth NCR (National Capital Region) chapter in these twin mass actions were their counterparts from Cavite province. APL-Youth also conducted flashmob-pickets at McDonald’s outlets in Lipa City (Batangas) bus station; Colon St., Cebu City; Ilustre St., Davao City; Magsaysay Park, Cagayan de Oro City; and Bgy. City Heights, General Santos City.

“McDonald’s is specifically targeted not only because it is the world’s largest fast food chain, it is also the pioneer – and remains the leader – in the rampant practice of granting low wages, scarce benefits and no security of tenure for most of its fast food workers, who are usually teenagers or young adults,” Marco Gojol, APL-Youth secretary general, said.

He added that “in fact, McDonald’s epitomizes the worst face of contractualization and anti-worker and anti-union policies in the fast food industry not only in the US but worldwide.”

As if receiving a cheap wage is not enough, workers also further fatten the McDonald’s pockets by serving for free for a certain period of time each day, which is called “charity work” or “turnover work” – in the Philippines, it ranges from no less than 30 minutes to as much as 2 hours, Melba Tampakan, APL-Youth chair, revealed.

McDonald’s is currently the object of widespread protests and lawsuits in the US, amid its vigorous rejection of the workers’ demand for $15 an hour pay and the right to unionize. But on July 29, the National Labor Relations Board finally ruled that McDonald’s could be named as a “joint employer” in several complaints of labor rights’ violations even at franchise-owned and -operated restaurants, which account for the vast majority of McDonald’s more than 14,000 joints in the US.

The NLRB ruling signifies that McDonald’s could no longer “hide behind its franchisees” and wash its hands of any liability for the long list of abusive acts against McDonald’s workers even those not directly employed by the corporation itself but by its franchisees or affiliate firms.

The labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) remarked that this unprecedented decision could also later be adapted to McDonald’s chains in other countries, including the Philippines.

The US-based McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants – in 2012 it has already over 34,000 hamburger joints in 119 countries and territories employing 1.8 million workers who serve 68 million customers daily, which enable it to earn $27.6 billion in revenues and $5.5 billion in net income.

However, McDonald’s is notorious for hiring workers with low pays and few benefits and mostly remain contractual, as well as for its rabid resistance to trade unions, to ensure bigger profits – this prompted the coining of the term “McJob” to denote a “low-paying” or “low-quality” work.

McDonald’s franchises in the Philippines are run by the Golden Arches Development Corp., originally owned by businessman George Yang but now controlled by taipan Andrew Tan, the third richest Filipino this year according to Forbes, and whose group of companies includes the giant real estate firm Megaworld and Emperador Distillers, maker of the highly profitable Emperador brandy.

The APL-Youth said that aside from McDonald’s, its next “targets” are other foreign fast food chains such as Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC and many others, as well as local giants like Jollibee, which also follow anti-worker and anti-union practices.

For instance, Jollibee, the country’s top fast food restaurant, is also infamous for its low pays and routine use of “endo,” meaning “end-of-contract” workers who toil for short-term and precarious work arrangements or likewise called “5-5-5” scheme in which workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from becoming permanent or regular workers – who, by law, are entitled of higher wages and benefits, security of tenure, and can join a union.

Meanwhile, the APL-Youth admitted that while it is dismayed by the “degeneration” of many SK officers, from the barangay to national levels, into a “younger version” of opportunist and corrupt trapos or traditional politicians, the potentials of this mass-based organization could not be denied.

The APL-Youth agreed to HB 3000 declaration that the SK remains “a unique setup and provides possibilities for progressive interventions to advance meaningful youth participation, enhances access to education and youth employment, and democratizes delivery of social services for the youth sector.”

Thus, the bill explained, the SK’s abolition is not the solution to its becoming linked to “corruption, political disenfranchisement and patronage politics” since it “will contradict the entire essence of the devolution of the government, and will inhibit the Filipino youth’s vital role in nation-building.”

Among the bill’s list of reforms are the creation of an oversight body “to make SK officers accountable to their constituency in terms of clear processes in development planning, budgeting and disbursement of funds,” and a separate and functioning development council “with representation in the SK and mandated to draft the SK’s annual youth development plan.”

HB 3000 has been filed by the Akbayan party-list in the current 16th Congress, which is an updated version of its similar bill – HB 468 – during the 15th Congress.

The reforms are needed to be implemented before the next SK election, which will be determined by the Commission on Elections any day between Oct. 28 this year and Feb. 23, 2015, as stipulated in RA 10632 that postponed the Oct. 28, 2013 SK polls.

Filipino youths join int’l campaign for rights of fast food workers; ‘target’ McDo

20140514_youthmcdo

YOUTH members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL-SENTRO) held today a coordinated flashmob and pickets in front of several McDonald’s restaurants in the country as part of the global campaign for higher wages and rights of fast food workers and to celebrate at the same time the newly declared International Fast Food Workers’ Day.

APL-Youth staged flashmob and pickets at McDonald’s outlets near MRT Quezon Ave. station in Edsa (Metro Manila); Colon St. in Cebu City; and Bolton and Ilustre Sts. in Davao City.

The US-based McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants – in 2012 only it has over 34,000 hamburger joints serving 68 million customers daily in 119 countries and territories, enabling it to amass $27.6 billion in revenues and $5.5 billion in net income – but it also pioneered and systematized the use of contractual labor, especially among the youth, in the multi-billion dollar fast food industry.

McDonald’s rampant practices of hiring workers with low salaries, few benefits and no security of tenure – as well as its rabid resistance to labor unions – to ensure bigger profits have prompted even the venerable international dictionaries Merriam-Webster’s, Random House Webster’s and Oxford English to coin or list the word “McJob” to denote a “low-paying” or “low-quality” job.

“In fact, an overwhelming majority of the McDonald’s 1.8 million global workforce – employed by its franchisees or affiliate firms or the corporation itself –epitomizes those engaged in and suffering from ‘McJobs,’” Marco Gojol, APL-Youth secretary general, said.

McDonald’s anti-worker and anti-union practices are in turn widely imitated in the rapidly growing global fast food industry – this year’s sales alone are projected to reach $239.7 billion – especially by other fast food transnational corporations like Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, and many others, which all operate also in the Philippines.

Thus, the global union IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Allied Workers’ Associations) disclosed that “fast food workers around the world face the same issues of precarious work, low wages, and (their employers’) fierce opposition to union organization.”

While today’s “global day of action” is primarily aimed against international fast food giants led by McDonald’s, trade unions and other civil society groups in about 33 countries in six continents are expected to protest also similar practices of local companies that perpetuate cheap wages, scarce benefits, contractualization and union-busting, the labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) reiterated.

In the Philippines, Jollibee, the country’s top fast food restaurant, is likewise notorious for its low pays and routine use of “endo” – acronym for “end-of-contract” workers with short-term and unprotected work arrangements or also called “5-5-5” scheme in which workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from becoming permanent or regular workers.

Meanwhile, APL-Youth chided the McDonald’s Philippines for its “empty praise” to its Filipino staff as “hardworking, driven and talented” after its contender, a McDonald’s crew in Cagayan de Oro City, placed first runner-up in the Season 5 Finals of the Voice of McDonald’s – a global singing contest for McDonald’s employees – in Orlando, Florida, ironically last May 1, the International Labor Day.

“The supposedly flattering tributes of McDonald’s Philippines to its Filipino crew are nonsense in view of the local McDonald’s blind adherence to the global McDonald’s systematic ‘endo’ or contractualization, cheap wages and scarce benefits, and union-busting practices,” Giline Servidad, APL-Youth vice chair for NCR, said.

Today’s protest actions are also in solidarity with the ongoing “Fight for 15” campaign in the US, where fast food workers here are demanding $15 an hour pay, and rallies will be conducted in at least 150 American cities simultaneous with the mobilizations throughout the world, including the said flashmob-pickets of APL-Youth in several McDonald’s outlets in the Philippines.

“The ‘Fight for 15’ in the US has caught the attention of workers around the world in the global fast food industry where workers have recently been mobilizing,” said IUF secretary general Ron Oswald.

He noted that this campaign “has added further inspiration and led (the US fast food workers) to join together internationally in a fight for higher pay and better rights on the job … (which) is just the beginning of an unprecedented international fast food workers’ movement.”

Last May 5-6 an international fast food workers’ meeting organized by the IUF was held in New York City, and attended by more than 80 workers and trade unionists from 26 countries, including APL and SENTRO delegates, to pave the way for establishing a global fast food union network.

The participants picketed a McDonald’s restaurant in Manhattan on May 7 and handed a letter to the McDonald’s Corp. calling to “immediately end (its) precarious employment practices, mobile working hours and zero-hour contracts and to comply with labor laws in all countries where (it) operates.”

Aimed at the company’s stockholders’ meeting in the first week of May, the letter added that “All McDonald’s workers are entitled to dignified work and living wages, and an environment free from harassment and intimidation.”

It further urged McDonald’s to “respect the internationally recognized right to freedom of association as a human right and enter in good faith (in) negotiations with workers’ representatives to raise wages for its workers and respect workers’ rights.”

McDonald’s franchises in the Philippines are run by the Golden Arches Development Corp., originally owned by businessman George Yang but now controlled by taipan Andrew Tan, the third richest Filipino this year according to Forbes, and whose group of companies includes the giant real estate firm Megaworld and Emperador Distillers, maker of the highly profitable Emperador brandy.