Substantial wage hike more urgent amid New Year price blast – KMU
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Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today that the legislation of a substantial wage increase is made even more urgent by what it called “the New Year price blast,” referring to recent increases in the prices of basic goods and impending increases in transportation fares.
The new year opened with increases in the prices of LPG, bread, meat and petroleum products as well as payment for electricity consumption. These followed steep increases in the prices of rice and sugar last year. Increases in toll fees at the NLEX and SLEX, meanwhile, are bound to increase the prices of commodities that are transported through these highways. MRT and LRT fare hikes will also be implemented starting March.
”Before the wave of price increases this year, the International Labor Organization already said that the wage level in the Philippines is one of the worst-hit by the world economic crisis. The new year price blast being unleashed by big capitalists in cahoots with the Aquino government makes a substantial wage increase even more urgent,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
”Without a substantial wage increase, hunger incidence in the country – which has increased in the past three months according to a recent Social Weather Stations survey – is bound to get worse. We all know that it is workers’ and poor people’s budget for food that is worst hit whenever the real value of wages decline,” Soluta added.
KMU also lambasted the Aquino government for being subservient to the dictates of big business while ignoring workers’ calls for a substantial wage increase. The labor center has been calling for the legislation of a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.
”If approved, House Bill 375, filed by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano – which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide – will give workers an immediate relief from the skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services. We have been challenging Pres. Aquino to certify as urgent and to immediately pass this bill – but to no avail so far,” Soluta added.
”The ‘new year price blast’ shows that the Aquino government is ready to move heaven and earth to ensure that big capitalists continue to amass huge profits. On the other hand, this government couldn’t care less for the plight of the Filipino workers and people who have been calling for a substantial wage increase,” Soluta said.
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