Negros labor groups to demand P750 national minimum wage on Labor Day protest
BACOLOD CITY — Labor groups on Negros Island are uniting under the banner of the United Labor Alliance – Negros (ULAN) to demand for a P750 across-the-board national minimum wage during a protest in Bacolod City on Monday afternoon, May 1.
The workers will hold a Labor Day protest march starting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday towards the Bacolod City Government Center replica at the Bacolod Public Plaza for a rally, said Noly Rosales, Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general.
ULAN is calling for a P750 daily minimum wage and the lowering of prices of goods to alleviate the plight of the Filipino people, the majority of whom are poor.
“Workers are the lifeblood of society, breaking their backs to generate wealth and keep the economy afloat. Yet, they are the ones who suffer the most and bear the brunt of the economic crisis,” ULAN said in a statement issued during a press conference at the Negros Press Club in Bacolod on Friday, April 28.
The inflation rate on Negros Island was 12.2 percent in January 2023, making it increasingly difficult for workers to survive.
The Department of Labor and Employment has approved a measly increase in the daily minimum wage of workers in the province.
“This increase is not enough to make up for the value lost due to the rising cost of goods that outpace the wage hike,” ULAN said.
For hacienda workers, ULAN said it is even worse as the “pakyaw system” or piece-meal rate is prevalent.
They earn as little as P50 for a day of back-breaking work under the sweltering sun, ULAN said.
“Despite being the backbone of the nation, workers are also maligned and hindered from organizing themselves into unions. Worse, they are branded as communist sympathizers and harassed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and other state forces, thus further undermining their right to demand better wages and working conditions,” it said.
ULAN said trade union organizers are imprisoned, and even killed for fighting for their basic rights.
“(ULAN also vehemently denounced government’s push for charter change) which would only serve to increase our reliance on foreign investors who come to exploit our labor laws and meager wages,” it said.
ULAN is composed of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino – Negros, BAYAN Negros, Kilusang Mayo Uno –Negros, Partido Manggagawa Negros, Commercial and Agro-Industrial Labor Organization and the National Federation of Sugar Workers.