Migrant Workers: The Voice of an Overseas Filipino Worker

My name is George Verzosa, I come from Calbayog City (Southern part of the Philippines). I have never completed my college education because my parents could not afford to send me and my siblings to school. I migrated to Manila to find work and I worked in a sack factory as a machine operator under a contractual agency. I worked with the minimum salary, while some of my co-workers were below the minimum wage. When I had overtime hours and received extra pay, I sent it to my relatives and family way back in my province.

We were required to work rapidly because we had a “quota” to achieve and they wanted surplus production. When we did not meet the quota required for the day, it was deducted from our salary. However, when we exceeded the production quota, there was no compensation.

In 2014, my work became more precarious. I worked only three to four days a week.  It was a “no work, no pay” policy, so the days I had no work, I had no income. It was extremely difficult for me to help my family and even to support my own needs, I was renting an apartment too.

Young Workers March to Berlin on May Day Celebration

Just work and young workers’ rights were at the forefront of the gathering of around fifty young workers and leaders of CAJ from various regions of Germany. They gathered together in Berlin from April 28 to May 1, 2017 to deepen their action campaign on “Precarious Work”. Three main demands under that theme were identified: the reduction of working time, basic income guarantee and gender equality at work and in the society.

During the “Bundesaktionstage”, which was the name of the study days and the “March of Young Workers” organized in the framework of this grassroots event, young German workers, students, unemployed youth, migrants and refugees joined together in action.

March 15, 2017: “Just Work, not Bullets”

The International Young Christian Workers (IYCW) is declaring March 15 International Day against Police Violence and State Repression. We have experiences from all around the world of increasing incidents involving the use of force by police and the military to suppress the demands of the population for Just Work, Equality and Dignified life.

For instance, the Walloon YCW noted that in recent months, following the attacks in Brussels and Paris, the Belgian government had decided hastily the implementation of a range of security measures and racistic laws that attack the foundations of democracy in the country. “The evacuation and arrest of undocumented people last September 19, 2016 in Molenbeek, which took place with an extraordinary deployment of police forces (helicopters and heavy weapons) is symptomatic of the way the government is criminalizing undocumented migrants by turning them into potential terrorists. We can also see an intensification of raids carried out in working-class districts and in areas of exploitation of undocumented workers, in particular in Matongé and Saint Josse. In the post-terrorist context, the instrumentalization of fear enables the public authorities to put in place policies and safeguards that lead to mass surveillance.”