TUCP: Section 4 of anti-terrorism bill may curtail workers right to on strike

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) today said that the bill on anti-terrorism recently crafted by the House of Representatives may curtail the constitutionally guaranteed right of workers to go on strike.

TUCP disclosed that Section 4 of the proposed law comes dangerously close to classifying workers strikes and other concerted actions as terrorist acts.

Section 4 of House Bill 4839 which identifies acts of terrorism states that …”Terrorism is committed by any person or group of persons, whether natural or juridical, who, with the intent to create or sow danger, panic, fear or chaos to the general public or segment thereof or to coerce or intimidate the government to do or refrain from doing an act through premeditated, threatened, or actual use of force, violence or other means of destruction, commits any of the following acts”:

(1) …

(2) …

(4)….Causing serious or unlawful interference with or serious unlawful disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private;

The TUCP is concerned over the possible interpretation of number 4 of Section 4 as it may classify workers strikes as causing unlawful interference or serious disruption of an essential service.

“If liberally interpreted workers may end up losing the only available measure they can resort to when pushing for their collective rights”, TUCP added.

“For example a strike of port workers or employees of a hospital or water facility may constitute an act of terrorism since they are areas of public conveyance and may cause serious disruption as classified under Section 4”, TUCP adds.

“While we fully support measures to check terrorism we can not afford to endanger workers hard-won freedoms”, TUCP said.

TUCP said that it will press the Senate and the House of Representatives to strike out the provision before the proposed law comes into final form.

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