Workers picket DOLE, slam anti-wage hike propaganda

DOLE

WORKERS led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket in front of the Labor Department’s main office in Intramuros, Manila this morning to condemn the agency’s statements against a bill that seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, saying “DOLE” really stands for “Department of Labor Exploitation.”

After the House Subcommittee on Labor Standards approved House Bill 375, otherwise known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, in its Luzon-wide consultation last Jan. 18, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz gave interviews to the media claiming the bill, if approved, would cause massive retrenchments.

KMU cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s March 2012 study, based on the government’s 2009 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry, which says that a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide would amount to a mere 12 per cent reduction in capitalists’ profits, and even a smaller reduction for the Top 1,000 corporations in the country.

To demonstrate their protests, the workers burned giant images of Baldoz and Pres. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, claiming that the two are enemies of the Filipino workers and people and are defenders of capitalists’ profits.

“Baldoz and the Aquino government continue to prioritize capitalists’ profits over the well-being of workers who are already suffering from worsening hunger and poverty. They continue to spread lies about workers’ clamor for significant wage hike,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“They raise no criticisms against the deregulated prices of basic goods and services yet want wages tightly regulated so as to keep these very low. They ignore the fact that the country’s regional wage boards have approved meager wage adjustments since these were created in 1989,” he added.

KMU also cited Ibon Foundation’s April 2012 study showing that the minimum wage in the National Capital Region, the highest in the country, has dropped in proportion to the cost of living from 52 per cent in 2001 to merely 43 per cent in 2011.

“We continue to call on Northern Samar Rep. Emil L. Ong, chairperson of the House Committee on Labor and Employment to fulfill his promise of creating the committee report for the P125 Wage Hike Bill and immediately forwarding this to the House plenary. We vow to intensify our protests in the coming days and weeks to push legislators to immediately deliberate and vote on the bill,” Soluta said.

“We condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino for not certifying the P125 Wage Hike Bill as urgent. He continues to expose himself as pro-capitalist and anti-worker in ignoring a bill that’s most urgent for Filipino workers,” he added.

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