Workers from the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) trooped various government agencies today to call for the immediate implementation of a P16,000 National Minimum Wage. The protest action was launched as part of the nationwide wage hike campaign set by Kilusang Mayo Uno every October.
“With prices of basic commodities and ‘services’ rising endlessly, the fight a national minimum wage for all workers in the country has never been as timely. In Southern Tagalog, minimum wages range from P315 to P337, depending on where you are located. Instead of increasing it to at least become at part with the P1069 daily living wage, the Aquino regime further lowered the minimum wage in the region through the Two Tiered Wage System in 2012. Now, whilst the proposed national minimum wage does not fully suffice the present cost of living in the country, its implementation will signal the alleviation of the living standards of the Filipino working class.” Christopher Oliquino, PAMANTIK Vice Chairperson, said.
The TTWS has been a subject of criticism from various labor groups due to the P255 floor wage and productivity-based pay it set.
“While Aquino and his cohorts experience the most lavish lifestyles by stealing billions of pesos from government funds, which are mostly from hard-earned taxes of the people, workers are deprived of their right to a dignified life. Apart from being a corrupt government on the whole, the BS Aquino regime is a blatant puppet of the imperialist US—proven by his eager implementation of pro-foreign capitalist, anti-worker, and anti-people laws and decrees such as more incentives for foreign investors vis-a-vis lower wages and labor flexibilization schemes.” Oliquino added.
Under the Aquino administration, contractual employees make up approximately 80% of the total work force, receiving wages that are even below the minimum, without benefits, and with more precarious job descriptions.
“We are not surprised as to how Aquino disregards the needs of the people for a significant wage increase and, overall, better living conditions, because he is busy plundering our nation’s wealth, defending his unashamed support for neoliberal policies that put the people’s lives in further desolation, railroading one-sided agreements such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that only benefits the power-hungry imperialist US that sucks on the blood of workers all over the world.” Said Oliquino.
“The fight for a living wage is a fight for our right to decent living. It will continue and intensify for as long as our government remains blind and deaf to the cries of the people. It will elevate into a much larger and stronger force that will expose, and oust, Aquino’s pro-capitalist and anti-worker, anti-people administration.” Oliquino ended.###