Labor leader: P25 wage hike is ‘death warrant’ for 4M families
The recent minimum wage hike is like “a death warrant for four million working-class families,” a labor leader said on Monday.
Leody de Guzman, the chairperson of the labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), lashed out at Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) for the P25 wage order it issued Monday for workers in Metro Manila.
READ: DOLE raises NCR minimum wage to P537 with P25 hike
“The order of the NCR wage board, which was openly supported by DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) Sec. Bello, did not lift minimum wages from starvation levels,” he said in a statement.
“Hence, it is a death warrant for four million working-class families, who would have to wait for another year for the next round of wage orders,” he added.
De Guzman noted that the recent wage order has provided workers “another year of misery” with the continuing price hikes and “economic slowdown” forecast in the coming year.
The wage hike, according to the labor leader, was “contemptibly unreasonable” considering that the country’s productivity was at record-breaking levels in 2017.
He cited a report by Forbes Magazine which showed that the Philippines’ per capita gross domestic product (GDP) reached $2,891.36 in 2017, which he claimed is remarkably exceptional given that the country’s average for the period 1960-2017 is only $1,627.98.
De Guzman argued that Bello and other labor officials deliberately did not consider the employers’ capacity to pay as productivity increased.
“Such wage order only fortifies our belief that employers and government officials are in cahoots to cheapen the price of labor, as they both squeeze taxes and profits out of the value-added created by the working class,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BMP said it supported the petition of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) for a P334 wage hike during consultations held by the RTWPB.
It insisted that the wage hikes should be implemented with policy reforms, particularly price control, so that pay hikes would not be used as an excuse to increase prices of basic commodities, which are expected to spike during the Christmas season.
De Guzman claimed that the Duterte administration’s lack of empathy and political will to implement a substantial wage hike only cemented his belief that the masses must rely only on themselves in asserting the justness of their demands.
“Higit sa panahong ito, kailangan ng manggagawa’t mamamayan ng tagapagsalita at magsusulong ng kanilang hinaing sa gobyerno (Now more than ever, laborers need leaders who will speak for them and bring their concerns to the government),” he said.
“Wala na tayong napapala sa mga ahensyang kinopo ng mga kapitalista at burukrata para baratin ang sweldo ng mga manggagawa (We can’ rely on government agencies that are beholden to capitalists who continue to squeeze wages),” he added. /ee
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