September 3, 2008 – 4:31 p.m.
Workers led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-May First Movement), and various sectors led by the Unity for P125 alliance, attended en masse the first hearing of the P125 wage hike bill in the House of Representatives.
KMU Chair Elmer Labog said, “This hearing was the result of our collective protests and perseverance.” Labog maintained that Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo, chair of the House Committee on Labor, would not be compelled to start the deliberations for the said bill if they did not picket his house twice.
The labor leader said that a substantial wage hike should not be blamed for further inflation. “Indeed, price spikes have happened without the passage of a meaningful wage hike, that’s why it is more than necessary today,” he said.
Citing a report by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Labog said that the average daily labor productivity increased from P439 in 2002 to P610 in 2006, but the basic pay only increased by around P36 during the same period.
He further said, “Businesses can easily deduct the cost of wage hike from their profits, and should not pass it to consumers.” Labog said that according to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), labor cost is only ten percent at the maximum of business costs.
Labog asserted that a wage increase would not cause the closure of companies. He said that profit margins are too high.
The group also condemned the proposed 100 percent increase in the salaries of the President and top government officials. “How dare they double their salaries while freezing the wages of the majority of the people! Arroyo deserves a job termination, not a wage hike.” (Bulatlat.com)