Workers hail sub-committee nod to P125 Wage Hike Bill

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LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno hailed the approval today by the House Sub-committee on Labor Standards of the bill seeking to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide and called on the Committee on Labor and Employment to immediately pass the bill for a chance to be discussed and voted on in the plenary.

House Bill 375, or the P125 Wage Hike Bill, was subjected to a Luzon-wide consultation this morning at the Strawberry Valley Hotel in La Trinidad, Benguet in the presence of labor leaders, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, Rep. Ronald Cosalan and COLE chair Rep. Emil Ong.

“We are glad at the progress being made by one of the most important bills for Filipino workers. We hope that the COLE acts on the bill fast enough so that the workers’ demand for a significant wage hike gets the chance of being deliberated and voted on in the House plenary,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to intensify our protests for a P125 across-the-board wage hike in the coming weeks. Congress only has nine session days starting Jan. 21 before it takes a recess for this year’s election campaign,” he added.

“We first filed a bill for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide more than ten years ago, and workers need it now more than ever. Filipino workers need some form of immediate relief from the prices of basic goods and services that have soared through the years,” he said.

KMU cited an April 2012 study of independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing that the gap between the minimum wage in the National Capital Region, the highest in the country, and the cost of living has widened in the past 10 years.

In 2001, the NCR minimum wage was 52 per cent of the Family Living Wage, which is computed based on the methodology previously used by the National Wages and Productivity Commission. By the end of 2011, the percentage was reduced to 43 per cent.

The labor center said the gap is proof that the incremental adjustments being granted by the country’s wage boards are not enough to help workers cope with rising prices and what is needed is to legislate a significant wage hike.

“For sure, the Aquino government and big capitalists will respond with their doomsday scenarios should this bill is passed. They always try to counter this measure, which is highly beneficial to workers, with threats of retrenchment and inflation,” Soluta said.

“The Aquino government and big capitalists have always ignored the hunger and poverty being felt by the country’s workers. Big capitalists’ profits have grown through the years and one of the reasons is the stunting of workers’ wages,” he added.

The labor leader cited Ibon Foundation’s March 2012 study, based on the government’s Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry, showing that a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide will only result in a 12 per cent reduction in capitalists’ profits.

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