P10 COLA, Aquino’s insulting farewell gift to workers – KMU

One day before the implementation of a P10 Cost of Living Allowance for Metro Manila workers, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said the measure is Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s insulting farewell gift to workers.

KMU said the implementation of the P10 COLA seals Aquino’s record of pressing down wages by implementing only meager wage adjustments and further fragmenting the minimum wage levels throughout the country.

“The P10 COLA for Metro Manila workers shows that Aquino has consistently been anti-worker until the end of his term. He refused to give workers any immediate relief in the form of a significant wage hike and further destroyed the minimum wage,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

Citing data from independent think-tank Ibon Foundation, the labor leader said the resulting P481 minimum wage and the P10 COLA is equivalent to no more than 45 percent of the Family Living Wage, or the amount needed daily by an average Filipino family to live decently.

“The P10 COLA for workers in the National Capital Region shows that the economic growth which the Aquino government brags about means little to the majority of Filipinos. The so-called growth does not mean food on the dining table of workers’ families,” Labog stated.

Labog said the 6.9 percent growth in the country’s first-quarter Gross Domestic Product means little for Filipino workers who are being denied the right to a minimum wage, let alone a living wage.

“What is economic growth if workers are being denied the right to a minimum wage? There is no minimum wage in effect in the country given the regionalization of wage setting, the numerous exemptions to providing the minimum wage, and capitalists’ sheer refusal to give even the legally-mandated minimum,” Labog added.

KMU is calling for the enactment of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 per day for private-sector workers and P16,000 monthly for government employees, a demand which it will present to incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.



Duterte nod to P2,000 SSS pension hike welcomed

We welcome President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he will approve the P2,000 hike in Social Security System pensions. We are glad that he recognizes the elderly’s need for higher pensions and the fact that current pension levels are too meager to meet pensioners’ basic needs. We are very pleased that as a senior citizen himself, Duterte expresses identification with SSS pensioners’ vulnerability to illnesses.

Duterte’s commitment to hike SSS pensions further emphasizes his difference from the heartless and anti-worker presidency of Noynoy Aquino. We are glad that we will have a president who listens to the clamor and protests of pensioners, workers, and all Filipinos. We vow to continue speaking out and holding protests until the first batch of increased pensions is received by pensioners demanding relief from hunger and poverty.

Contrary to the claims of Aquino and his overpaid cronies in the SSS management, the SSS can raise the funds needed for the pension hike and the government has the obligation to help pensioners through the SSS. We urge Duterte to look at proposals made by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno and Rep. Neri Colmenares of progressive partylist group Bayan Muna for raising funds for the pension hike.