Workers picket Congress resumption, demand P125 Wage Hike Bill passage

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AFTER getting the House Subcommittee on Labor Standard’s nod last Jan. 18 to a bill that seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the House of Representatives’ resumption today to press for the bill’s immediate passage.

The workers called on the House Committee on Labor and Employment headed by Northern Samar Rep. Emil L. Ong to fulfill its promise of immediately creating the committee report on House Bill 375, also known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, and submitting the report to the House plenary for possible deliberation and voting.

The workers carried umbrellas bearing their call, aiming to make it visible to legislators and passersby.

“We are calling on the House of Representatives to immediately pass the P125 Wage Hike Bill in its remaining nine session days. This bill is long overdue and workers need it now more than ever,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“Over the years, wage increases granted by the country’s regional wage boards have lagged farther and farther behind increases in the prices of basic goods and services. What workers need now is a significant wage hike, which is only possible through legislation,” he added.

“Because of the growing disparity between the minimum wage and the cost of living, workers’ families have been suffering from worsening poverty and hunger. Minimum-wage earners also suffer from indebtedness and lack money for education and hospitalization,” 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 in the region has widened through the years.

The study showed that the NCR minimum wage was 52 per cent of the Family Living Wage in 2001 and became a mere 43 per cent of the latter by the end of 2011.

“We would like to emphasize that, in many companies, wages constitute only a small section of the overall production cost. The wage hike that workers have been clamoring for amounts to a small reduction in capitalists’ profits, which have been increasing over the years,” Soluta said.

“The Aquino government and big capitalists should stop spreading the lie that a significant wage hike will cause massive unemployment and high inflation. Workers are suffering from hunger and poverty and deserve a significant wage hike now,” he added.

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