We condemn Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) chairman emeritus Donald Dee for resorting to tirades against Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod to undermine workers’ demands for a significant wage hike.
As a known despotic anti-worker and anti-poor capitalist, it is not surprising that Mr. Dee would reject Maglunsod’s proposal for a General Wage Increase through a P125 across-the-board wage hike. What enrages us most is that he is resorting to arrogant and senseless tirades against a pro-worker government official to desperately assert the ECOP’s age-old absurd argument of pitting jobs against wages which have long been debunked by workers and labor researchers.
A significant wage hike can and should be given to workers. Increasing workers’ wages would not result in loss of jobs if it would be deducted from capitalists’ ever-increasing profits.
Workers need an immediate relief that would at least bring the minimum wage closer to living standards. The gap between the mandated minimum wage and the amount needed by a family to live decently, the family living wage, has drastically widened over the years. The highest wage level in the country, P481 in the NCR, does not even come half of the estimated P1,096 family living wage. A P125 across-the-board wage hike has been long overdue and already falls short to give immediate relief to workers.
Workers are now calling for a significant wage hike through the implementation of a National Minimum Wage of P750 a day for private sector workers. This would serve as an immediate relief to workers and their families amidst their worsening hunger and poverty. It would also counter the disparity of wages in the caused by the Wage Rationalization Law and bring the current minimum wage closer to the Family Living Wage.
The problem with Mr. Dee is that he is too greedy. He is sticking with their lie that increasing wages would result in job loss while denying the fact that a significant wage hike, through the National Minimum Wage of P750, would only be a 30% decrease in their profits as per independent think-tank IBON Foundation’s research. This leaves them with 70% of clean profits to pocket.
Studies also show that workers’ wages are at the least of the worries even of small businesses in the country as labor costs only amounts to 10% of their total production costs. The high cost of electricity, poor infrastructure, red tape in the government and widespread smuggling and influx of cheap imports remain the major deterrents in businesses in the country.
Another glaring fact Mr. Dee refuses to recognize is that there has been no significant wage hike for decades yet unemployment in the country has drastically worsened. Workers’ wages have already been left out by the ever-increasing prices of goods and services while capitalists’ profits have been constantly increasing at unprecedented rates.
Chronic unemployment is a result of widespread landlessness in the countrysides and the backward and import-dependent Philippine economy. The only way to address this is through genuine land reform and national industrialization which are the main socio-economic reforms being pushed by workers in the on-going peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Oligarchs and foreign big businesses represented by Mr. Dee are threatened by President Duterte’s pro-worker and pro-people initiatives. Mr. Dee is using Maglungsod’s appointment as an excuse to defy the Presidents’ marching orders to end contractualization and to implement a National Minimum Wage.
We urge President Duterte to stand for Usec Maglunsod against the anti-worker, anti-poor and anti-Filipino oligarchs such as Mr. Dee and his foreign big business masters.