Labor group seeks P125 wage hike

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 05 2014 11:58 AM | Updated as of Apr 05 2014 07:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - As Labor Day approaches, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is renewing calls for a P125 increase in the daily take-home pay of workers nationwide.

KMU chair Elmer Labog said the labor group is intensifying efforts to push for an immediate wage increase.

“Less than a month before Labor Day, there should be talk right now of increasing the minimum wage.” Instead, workers are hearing vicious attacks against the minimum wage from the Aquino government and big capitalists’ groups, Labog said.

He also criticized the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) for claiming that the minimum wage is denying people jobs and pushing up poverty.

“PIDS is trying to ignore the fact that labor costs now amount to only a small section of overall production costs, and that what makes doing business more difficult for employers, especially small Filipino businessmen, are high power and water costs, rampant smuggling and trade liberalization, and high taxes and government kickbacks,” he noted.

Labog said the government is only trying to make it appear that the minimum wage is now a cause of poverty. But the current minimum wage levels in the country could already be called poverty wages or starvation wages.

Labog said the KMU would vigorously protest attempts by the Aquino government to allow big capitalists to avoid implementing the minimum wage.

“We vow to intensify our struggle for a significant wage hike, such as the P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide that we have been clamoring for,” he added.

But the Department of Labor and Employment has already ruled out the possibility of the government announcing a wage hike on Labor Day.