Workers assert legislated wage hike, call for wage boards’ abolition
Responding to the Labor secretary’s announcement that only a P13 to P21 wage hike may be granted this year by the Metro Manila wage board, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to the national office of the National Wages and Productivity Commission in Malate, Manila to call for the abolition of the country’s wage boards.
Workers have been calling for a significant wage hike, such as the P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide which House Bill 375 filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano seeks to legislate, to cope with increases in the prices of basic goods and services for more than a decade.
The wage increase approved in the National Capital Region is usually the highest granted per year to workers across the country.
“The country’s regional wage boards are again proving to be instruments of capitalists and the government for pressing down wages. For failing to give workers a significant wage increase, the country’s wage boards should be abolished,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“We want our call for a significant across-the-board wage increase nationwide to be discussed in Congress and the Senate, where it has a chance of being approved, not in the wage boards,” he added.
“Filipino workers have not received a significant wage hike for more than nine years under the Arroyo regime and more than one year under the Aquino regime. The pressing down of our wages has been carried out through the regional wage boards,” he said.
KMU cited a March 2012 study released by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing that while wages increased by 45 per cent in the period 2001-2011, prices have increased by 62 per cent.
The labor center also said that the highest wage increase granted by the regional wage boards since these were created in 1989 was P36 in Central Luzon in 2002.
“Another measly wage increase courtesy of the wage boards will not help us cope with rising prices. Neither will it restore the real value of our wages which has been eroded through the years,” Soluta said.
“Workers need a substantial wage increase to cope with increases in public transportation fares, the prices of basic goods and services, the price of LPG, and electricity rates. There will really be social unrest unless the government heeds workers’ demand for a substantial wage hike,” he added.
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