Rhea A. Gamana, Chairperson
We from Anakbayan-Toronto, a comprehensive youth organization, as part of the Philippine National Democratic movement supports the ongoing strike of teaching assistants and contract professors at various universities in Canada, and particular here in York University. We express our solidarity and join you, teaching assistants, sessional instructors, and research assistants in the picket lines for this important struggle.
We are in solidarity with you. We understand that these “boundless exploitation”, precariousness of contract work, and especially the commercialisation of education is the result of the neo-liberal austerity agenda of the contemporary Ontario government.
We in Anakbayan-Toronto believe that access to higher education is our right and not a privilege.
What TA’s and contract professors are experiencing in Toronto are the similar experiences that has been happening in the Philippine education system. Elementary, high school, college, and university teachers have long been fighting for their right of a decent living. They echo the same call as we do here in Canada: salary increase, benefits, and job protection, which in the Philippine context, so they don’t have to leave the country and their families in order to support them.
Latest numbers has shown that there are now 5, 016 Filipinos leaving the Philippines everyday. They leave to find work elsewhere as the result of the country’s Labor Export Policy, a policy where the country exports people in exchange for remittances to keep the economy afloat. Many of these overseas Filipino workers are teachers and educators who find themselves in dirty, dangerous, and demeaning jobs where they become disposable workers.
The bargaining saga may continue under the climate of uncertainty. It will take more of our vigilance and collective struggle against the peddling of education as a profitable business instead of a social service. We deserve more than this. As we say in Philippine language: Makibaka! Huwag Matakot! (Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!) ###