Australian Unionists Meet with Philippines Union Leader Elmber Labog on Solidarity Tour

Feb 27, 2020


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:

“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. Take a look at the photos below! 📸



Perth: Wreath Laid in Commemoration of Murdered Philippine Unionists

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. 



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

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’Neil, Luke Hilakari Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific.



Canberra: Parliamentarians hear about trade union repression in the Philippines

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.


Above: Canberra activists met with the KMU delegation on their solidarity tour. 

“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 Wong, Adam Bandt MP, Senator Tony Sheldon, Senator Kim Carr, Senator Tim Ayres, Josh Wilson MP, Pat Conroy MP, Peter Khalil MP, Ged Kearney MP, Julian Hill MP, and Josh Burns MP. Following their meetings, the delegation had the opportunity to meet with Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Activists.



Sydney: Delegation meets with union leaders and parliamentarians on final stop

In Sydney, Elmer and Meryl met with state parliamentarians at the NSW Parliament House, including Jenny Leong MP, Sonia Hornery MP, and Stephen Bali MP. Prior to their final public event, Elmer and Meryle spoke with CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly and Emma Groube, CPSU Lead Organiser.

On the final night of the Australia-wide solidarity tour, the KMU delegation met with Sydney internationalists at Trades Hall, where Elmer and Meryle shared harrowing stories of union members being ‘red-tagged’:

“If you are red-tagged it essentially means that you are a target for surveillance & that you are a hit for the police and military”


Join the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Community!

By becoming a member of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, you will have the chance to meet international unionists like Elmer Labog on advocacy tours across Australia, and you will be joining a growing community of internationalists standing up for workers’ rights across the globe.

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