Published: January 17, 2013
A day before the Luzon-wide consultation for a bill that will grant workers across the country a P125 across-the-board wage hike, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the House Committee on Labor and Employment to immediately forward the bill to the House plenary for deliberations and voting.
The consultation, which will be held in Baguio City tomorrow, is the last step before the COLE can create a committee report on House Bill 375, otherwise known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, and forward the bill to the plenary.
“We are calling on the COLE to uphold the interest of Filipino workers and immediately forward the P125 Wage Hike Bill to the House plenary. Workers urgently need some relief from the high prices of basic goods and services which have been eroding the real value of wages for years,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“We are glad that the COLE has finally conducted this long-delayed and much-awaited consultation. We expect the committee to immediately act on the results of the consultation in favor of Filipino workers’ clamor for a significant wage hike,” he added.
KMU cited an April 2012 study of independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing that the gap between the minimum wage and cost of living widened between 2001 and 2011 because of meager adjustments in the minimum wage on the one hand and soaring prices of basic goods and services on the other.
The study showed that while the minimum wage was 52 per cent of the Family Living Wage in 2001, it became a mere 43 per cent of the latter by the end of 2011.
“Workers need more than meager wage adjustments by the country’s regional wage boards, which have failed to give workers a significant wage hike since they were created in 1989. Workers need a significant wage increase, which is only possible through legislation,” Soluta said.
“The P125 Wage Hike Bill is urgently needed now after more than two decades of almost stagnant wages. It only aims to make wages recover a section of their value that has been eroded by increases in the prices of basic goods and services,” he added.
The labor center said the Aquino government has further reduced the real value of wages by allowing the following: non-stop increases in the prices of petroleum products, power and water rate hikes, increases in toll fees for three years since 2011, hikes in payments for government documents through Administrative Order No. 31 and an increase in members’ premium contribution to PhilHealth.
The Aquino government has also been pushing for increases in members’ premium contributions to the Social Security System, a “text tax” upon the direct recommendation of the International Monetary Fund, fare hikes in the MRT and LRT, and increases in payments for health services in the light of the privatization of public hospitals.