Promises of meager wage hike will only ignite bigger protests

14 April 2011
Media Release

MANILA — “The government’s promise of granting meager wage hikes will only ignite bigger protests in the coming days.”

This was the statement of multisectoral alliance Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan today as it launched a Metro-wide noise barrage dubbed “Kalampagan para sa Dagdag-sahod na Makabuluhan at Laban sa Presyong Nagtataasan.” The noise barrage started at 4:00 pm in various communities, factories and offices – the most notable of which are those in Novaliches, Letre, Agham Road, Barangay Tatalon and Elliptical Road.

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“It is clear from its statements and actions that the government does not intend to implement a significant wage hike, but is merely trying to dampen the protests of private- and public-sector workers. Its promises of increasing wages only by meager amounts will only fuel our protests, because the non-stop increases in the prices of basic goods and services are not meager, to put it kindly,” said Larry Tan, KPMM spokesperson.

“Today’s noise barrage is a continuation of the protest which we started last March 31 against non-stop oil price hikes and the overpricing of oil products. It will peak on May 1, Labor Day, which we have called ‘Workers’ and People’s Day of Outrage’ over government inaction on calls for wage hike and a stop to oil price hikes. Even beyond May 1, our protests will continue until our demand for a significant wage hike is met,” Tan added.

KPMM condemned the Aquino government for denying outright private-sector workers’ calls for a P125 across-the-board wage increase nationwide and government employees’ calls for a P6,000 hike in their minimum pay.

“The phrase ‘inflationary spiral,’ presidential spokesperson Ricky Carandang’s favorite lately, is a mere boogeyman against wage hikes. A substantial wage increase must not cause inflation because it must be reduced from capitalists’ huge profits, which have remained untouched for years, and not be passed on to the public via higher prices. The Aquino government is hell-bent on protecting capitalists’ huge profits despite the fact that poverty among workers is intensifying by the day,” Tan said.

“It is not true that government employees are still ‘enjoying’ the by-trench release of meager hikes in monthly pay mandated by the Salary Standardization Law 3. The meager salary increase in the SSL 3 was approved way before the current wave of unprecedented increases in the prices of oil and other basic commodities. Government employees, like their counterparts in the private sector, are already suffering from extremely high prices and extremely low salaries,” Tan added. #

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