Workers picket DOLE, slam ‘no wage hike’ statement
- [Amid record hunger level] Workers renew call for significant wage hike
- [As Congress opens] Workers press for wage hike, contractualization junking
- KMU slams granting of P30 COLA in Metro Manila
- Workers to Aquino: no ceasefire in criticisms this X-mas
- Workers assert legislated wage hike, call for wage boards’ abolition
Workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket in front of the Labor department office in Intramuros today to condemn Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz’s rejection of renewed calls for a wage hike, saying that the minimum wage has been eroded by price increases in recent months.
Faced with mounting calls for a wage hike, Baldoz said the government has just granted a Cost of Living Allowance, of P22 in Metro Manila and less in other regions, since May and it’s not yet time for a wage hike.
“We are angered by Sec. Baldoz’s yet another refusal of our calls for a significant wage hike. The Aquino government has never considered it untimely to approve increases in the burdens it imposes on the backs of workers and poor people,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“In the first place, the very meager COLA falls short of workers’ demand for a significant wage hike. Worse, the COLA has been eroded by increases in the prices of basic goods and services in recent months,” he said.
“Oil prices, toll fees and electricity rates have all gone up this year, thereby increasing the prices of basic goods and services, as well as the section of our wages that go to these. No wonder hunger has increased in recent months,” he added.
In a preview of their rally for a significant wage hike and against contractualization on Nov. 30, Andres Bonifacio Day, workers carried bolo knives bearing their calls. The worker-hero has been iconized as shouting rallying calls while wielding the knife.
KMU cited a research released last April by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation that a P40 increase will just restore the minimum wage in Metro Manila to the level at the start of the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Ibon also said that the minimum wage in Metro Manila is just 2/5 of the daily amount needed by Filipino families to live decently, which currently stands at P988 – a decline from the 1/2 in 2001.
“It is now clear that the Aquino government granted COLA’s not to provide immediate relief to workers and poor people suffering from low wages and contractual employment. Its goal was to pre-empt protests and make pa-pogi one more time,” Soluta added.
“We vow to heighten our protests in the coming weeks. We call on workers and poor people to intensify our protests for an immediate relief from hunger and poverty – a significant wage hike and the junking of contractual employment schemes,” he said.
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