Candidates dared: back P125 wage hike for workers

One week after politicians filed certificates of candidacy before the Commission on Elections, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno dared the candidates at a picket in Mendiola this morning to back calls for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.

The workers carried a tarpaulin streamer bearing the faces of presidentiables Jojo Binay, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the faces of vice-presidentiables Alan Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Bongbong Marcos, Leni Robredo and Antonio Trillanes, and their call.

KMU said that Filipino workers need a significant wage increase in the form of a P125 across-the-board wage hike now more than ever, after wages were severely pressed down under the presidency of Noynoy Aquino.

“Filipino workers and their families experience hunger and indebtedness as they face the 2016 elections. We want workers’ wages to be one of the main agenda in the national discussion before the elections. That’s why we dare all candidates for national positions to bare their stand on our call for a P125 wage hike,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.

The labor leader said that some of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates may further expose themselves as extremely pro-capitalist and anti-worker and express outright opposition to the call.

He also cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s mid-year study which shows that the Family Living Wage, or the amount needed daily by an average Filipino family to live decently, stands at P1,088 – a far cry from the P481 minimum wage in Metro Manila, the highest in the country.

“Only a significant wage hike, and not the meager adjustments approved by the country’s regional wage boards, could bring relief to workers suffering from hunger and indebtedness. This is something all candidates for national positions should understand,” Adonis added.

KMU also said the results of a Pulse Asia survey, conducted from May 30 to June 5, in which 47 percent and 46 percent of respondents said they were concerned about lower inflation and higher wages, respectively, truly reflect workers’ demands to candidates in the 2016 elections.

The labor group is also calling for a National Minimum Wage, saying the regionalization of wages should be ended and the regional wage boards abolished, in order to uphold workers’ right to a minimum wage.