[On Bello’s pitch for a National Minimum Wage Law] Implement a genuine pro-worker national minimum wage now!

Kilusang Mayo Uno recognizes Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello’s pitch for a National Minimum Wage Law. It should however be followed by immediate and concrete actions.

The implementation of a national minimum wage has long been pushed by workers as their main demand on the Workers’ Agenda for Change. It has been presented and pushed to the Duterte administration since it stepped into office.

Workers demand that the Duterte administration enact a National Minimum Wage in the amount of seven-hundred and fifty pesos (P750). This will enforce a genuine minimum wage in the country and bring existing legally-mandated minimum wage levels closer to the living wage, which according to independent think-tank Ibon Foundation is already at P1,096.

A national minimum wage of P750 would serve as an immediate relief to workers and their families amidst their worsening hunger and poverty. It should also be regularly increased to meet living standards.

The DOLE must immediately abolish the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards and establish a national mechanism for setting wages. Regional wage boards serves no purpose to workers. It has long been used by capitalists to deny workers of a significant wage hike. RWBs are also a deliberate waste of our taxes.

Duterte must order the “super-majority” in Congress to junk the Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Law of 1989 that paved-way the drastic fragmentation of workers’ wages. Since its implementation, there has been no standard minimum wage in the country. In fact, it resulted to more than a thousand wage levels in the country.

The Wage Rationalization Law is a US-dictated neoliberal policy that fragmented and pressed wages down to poverty levels. To prove that the Duterte administration’s pitch for a national minimum wage is genuinely pro-worker, it has to be aimed at negating such US-dictated policies.