For displaced workers, the significance of Independence Day yesterday had escaped their minds amid the coronavirus pandemic, labor leader Wennie Sancho said.
Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations, said the thousands of jobless workers could hardly feel the 122nd celebration, adding that independence is not merely an expression of desire but a means of providing the workers with decent standard of living.
“The despair brought about by large-scale unemployment comes with the threat of destitution that life is unbearable when hunger and poverty are at our heels,” he said.
“It is a fact that most of the displaced workers and their families go hungry, eating less than three times a day,” he added.
He stressed that independence includes equality and it would not be complete when there is a great gap in the standards of living between the rich and the poor. “It is the contrast between the economic abundance enjoyed by the chosen few and the burden of poverty imposed upon the poor majority.”
“We are only independent if we can openly question, criticize, and oppose the dominant power structures. We are only independent if we do not allow ourselves to be subjugated. For independence to be enjoyed, it should recognize human rights and the dignity of a worker,” he pointed out.
Independence calls for the establishment of a just and humane society that must free the workers from poverty, he added.*
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