GDP growth only for economic elite, says militant labor group
Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Friday said ordinary workers did not feel the growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which expanded by six percent in the third quarter of 2015.
KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said workers did not feel the reported growth in wages, job security, and trade-union rights, noting that working conditions “continue to deteriorate” as evident in the supposed cutting of wages and promotion of contractual employment.
“Without a significant wage increase, without the regularization of contractuals, and without the free exercise of trade-union rights, GDP growth means nothing to workers. It could only mean growth for the economic elite,” Labog said in a statement.
“Workers’ demands for improvements in working conditions remain unheeded by the government. The overall effect is not growth but worsening hunger, poverty, and indebtedness among workers and most Filipinos,” he added.
Labog also reiterated workers’ demand for a P125 across-the-board wage increase, enactment of a national minimum wage worth P750 for workers in the private sector, banning of contractualization, and a stop to union busting.
“The government and big capitalists claim that workers have to accept lower wages, contractual employment and trade-union repression so that the country can create more jobs. The country’s economic policies are clearly flawed because they result in worsening unemployment and worsening working conditions,” he said.
Labog said a shift in government policy, particularly in land reform and building national industries, can solve unemployment and improve the working conditions of Filipino workers.
The third quarter GDP growth rate, the fastest pace so far this year, was higher than the five percent posted by the country in the first quarter and the adjusted 5.8 percent in the second quarter. The latest figure also exceeded the dismal 5.3-percent growth registered in the same period in 2014, which was blamed mainly on government underspending. CDG
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