Southern Tagalog workers reject ECOP logic on P30 NCR wage hike

Regional trade union center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) rejects the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines’ (ECOP) logic and petition for reconsideration on the recent P30 wage increase implemented by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NPWC) for Metro Manila.

ECOP has filed for reconsideration on the P30 NCR wage increase approved by the NPWC, saying it ‘excessive and unreasonable’.  ECOP president Edgardo Lacson claims that the NPWC ‘did not consider the consumer price index, the capacity of the employers and the impact of such wage hike on employment generation’.

PAMANTIK-KMU outspokenly rejected ECOP’s logic, as it asserts the obvious insufficiency of a P30 wage hike versus the increasing family living wage (FLW) in the National Capital Region.

“A P30 wage hike is but a measly amount compared to what these employers and capitalists earn and bring to their own pockets.  In fact, they should be implementing the long-sought P125 wage increase nationwide instead.  Even such amount will not hurt capitalists’ profits, especially multinational and transnational companies that earn millions and billions each day.” PAMANTIK-KMU Secretary-General Wenecito Urgel said.

“There is also a big lie in claiming that a meager P30 increase will affect employment generation.” Urgel added.

According to a recent study by IBON Foundation, FLW in NCR is estimated to be at P1,017 as of May 2012.  It says that the P446 minimum wage in the region is less than half of what the regular Filipino family of six (6) needs every day.

“The major factors affecting employment growth are the government’s neoliberal policies and trade liberalization schemes that continuously constrict jobs into very low-paying, contractual employments in exchange of high capitalist profits and more lenient laws governing foreign investments in the country. Capitalists, through the ruling-class controlled ECOP, are simply using reasons related to employment generation to stop workers from calling for a just and reasonable wage increase.” Urgel said.

In the Southern Tagalog region where the two-tiered wage system was first implemented, a P12.50 wage increase was given to workers who received less than the P255 floor wage.  For those paid at least the minimum wage set at P337, a productivity based pay to be determined solely by the company will be given.

But PAMANTIK-KMU exclaimed the new wage system “an obvious adherence of the government to the demands of the capitalists who do not want a single cent out of their pockets for their employees”.

“In too many cases, these companies use such obsolete reasons to stop
even the most derisory wage increases contemptuously given as alms to
poor and destitute workers.  With Aquino prioritizing investors’ demands over workers’ interests, the rest of the country is at risk at being implemented with the two-tiered wage system which will make these capitalists more aggressive in lowering wages and denying workers of just increases.” Urgel said.

“The fight for the P125 wage increase continues, and the workers of Southern Tagalog will not cease to call for living wages. The Filipinos should unite against Aquino’s neoliberal policies, and demand real economic growth through nationalization of industries. This is the only way to create stable jobs with just and living wages for Filipinos.” Urgel ended.

IBON foundation cited past administrations and their corresponding implementation of wage increases vis-à-vis the annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth and unemployment rate.  Statistics from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) and employment data from the Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the NSO showed that under Corazon Aquino’s term where the largest real wage increase since 1986 was recorded had a 3.9% average annual GDP growth, second highest since Marcos was ousted from his post.  Arroyo’s term, on the other hand, which tallied only a total of P9.oo during her 9 years in office, had the worst unemployment rate equal to 11.2% annually.###

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