Workers demand committee report for P125 Wage Hike Bill

SIX days before Congress takes a recess, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket at the House of Representatives this morning to demand the immediate release of the committee report for a bill that would legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.

The workers said Northern Samar Rep. Emil L. Ong, chairperson of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, promised during the Luzon-wide consultation for House Bill 375, otherwise known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, that the committee report for the bill would be out by this week.

To make their calls heard, the workers held noise barrage protests and made noise by hitting the gates of the Batasang Pambansa with coins, which they say symbolize the meager wage adjustments that were approved by the country’s regional wage boards.

“We are calling on the COLE led by Rep. Ong to immediately release the committee report for the P125 Wage Hike Bill. With only six session days before Congress takes a recess, the time for the committee report is now,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“We are calling on legislators to immediately deliberate and vote on the P125 Wage Hike Bill after the committee report is transmitted to the House plenary. Workers urgently need a significant wage hike now more than ever,” he added.

“As expected, Pres. Aquino, subservient as he is to the dictates of big capitalists, did not certify our bill as urgent. We vow to intensify our protests in the coming days and weeks to push for the bill’s immediate passage,” he said.

Amidst news that big oil companies will hike prices this week, KMU said the impending increase, by jacking up the prices of basic goods and services, makes a significant wage hike even more necessary.

Big oil companies Shell, Caltex and Chevron are expected to increase the per liter prices of gasoline by P1.00 and the per liter prices of diesel by 25 centavos to 35 centavos this week, causing a net price increase since the start of the year.

“Through the years, the prices of basic goods and services have been allowed to increase without regulation while wages have been kept low and tightly regulated. As a result, minimum wage levels have decreased in proportion to the cost of living,” Soluta said.

The labor center cited an April 2012 study of independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing Metro Manila’s minimum wage, the highest in the country, decreasing in proportion to the cost of living – from 52 per cent in 2001 to 43 per cent in 2011.

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