Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno gathered at Welcome Rotonda and other parts of the country this morning to unveil their demand for a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750, which is topmost in their labor agenda for the 2016 national elections.
The labor group, which mobilized its regional chapters in Cordillera, Southern Tagalog, Negros, Panay, Cagayan de Oro and other regions, said there is no genuine minimum wage existing in the country at present and workers need immediate relief in the form of a significant wage hike to cope with the rising prices of basic goods and payments for services.
Dubbed “Boto ng Obrero, Hamon sa Kandidato (Workers’ Vote, Challenge to Candidates),” the labor agenda contained other pro-worker demands like the banning of contractual employment and safer workplaces, as well as nationalist demands like genuine land reform and national industrialization.
“There’s no genuine minimum wage in the country and wages have been pressed down so low as a result. Workers urgently need a National Minimum Wage and a significant wage hike embodied by the amount of P750,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader said the Wage Rationalization Law of 1989 is supposed to set the minimum wage in the country but instead carries out the regionalization of the minimum wage and other forms of attack on the latter.
The Department of Labor and Employment in 2014 stated that there are more than 1,000 wage levels across the country, and that almost half of private-sector workers in the country are not receiving the legally-mandated minimum wage.
“We are calling on all workers to unite and fight for our demand on the issue of wages and we are calling on the public to support our call. We are calling on all candidates, especially the presidentiables, to state their position on our demand,” Labog stated.
KMU said P750 is equivalent to 70 percent of the P1,088 Family Living Wage, or the amount needed by an average Filipino family to meet its daily needs, as computed by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation.
“Today is a historic day not only because we unveiled our new demand on the issue of wages, but also because we renew our vow to fight for higher wages. We vow to intensify this fight in the coming months and years in order to force the government and capitalists to heed our demand,” Labog stated.
Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597