Labor group bats for wage hike bill’s passage before Christmas

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the country’s legislators to immediately pass a bill that will legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide before Christmas, saying the wage increase is one of the best gifts that workers could receive this Yuletide season.

Citing the Social Weather Stations’ third-quarter survey showing hunger increasing to 21 per cent, the labor group said workers urgently need some form of immediate relief from the rising prices of basic goods and services.

It also cited the International Labor Organization’s “Global Wage Report 2012/13” which say that Filipino workers’ wages are significantly smaller compared with those of many countries, and that a third of Filipino workers remain under the $2-a-day poverty line in the world.

“The passage of the P125 Wage Hike Bill is one of the best gifts that the country’s legislators can give workers this Christmas. It is a step forward towards enabling wages to catch up with prices, which have been increasing for the past years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“A significant wage hike will enable workers to buy their families’ basic needs and pay some of their debts. If legislators really want to do something meaningful for the country’s workers, they should pass the P125 Wage Hike Bill immediately,” he said.

House Committee on Labor and Employment
KMU also condemned Northern Samar Rep. Emil L. Ong, chairperson of the House Committee on Labor and Employment (COLE), for refusing to speed up the passage of the P125 Wage Hike or House Bill 375 to the House plenary.

The labor center claimed that Ong earlier told workers that the Luzon-wide consultation for the bill can be done away with and the House COLE can already prepare a committee report on the bill and transmit the bill to the plenary for deliberations.

This November, Ong said the Luzon-wide consultation is still necessary, but failed to arrange for it despite the prodding of labor groups.

“The chairperson of the House Committee on Labor and Employment has failed to show that he is pro-labor on a bill that’s one of the most important for the country’s workers. He seems intent to end the 15th Congress without passing the P125 Wage Hike Bill,” Labog said.

“We know that congressmen will be busy with their electoral campaigns next year and that Congress becomes productive only until December before an election year. Now is the time for the 15th Congress to pass this most important piece of legislation,” he added.

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