A militant group, which includes young workers and professionals among its ranks, today rejected proposals to pass a minimum wage increase through regional wage boards as ‘doomed to failure’.
Members of Anakbayan joined workers today in a series of noise barrages all over Metro Manila to call for a ‘significant’ wage hike to address the ‘widening gap’ between workers’ incomes and their daily costs of living. A study by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) shows that the actual value of wage increases under the previous administration amounted to only P5, but the impact of the oil and other price hikes under Noynoy Aquino reach P7.
Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said regional wage boards have a track record of approving ‘token’ raises, such as the latest in Metro Manila back in June 2010, amounting to a measly P22. He attributed this to what he called the ‘negative’ presence of employers’ representatives, as well as that of the Dept. of Labor and Employment.
“Workers should have the sole say on how big any wage increase should be. For one thing, it is their stomachs which will be left either empty or full by the hikes,” said the youth leader.
He added “For another thing, workers know when their workplaces can take a wage hike or not, since they are the ones directly involved in the production line. On the other hand, while capitalists also have the same knowledge, they are always doing their best to protect their profits.”
Instead, Anakbayan is throwing its support behind House Bill 375, which mandates a P125 across-the-board raise all over the country.
Crisostomo dismissed as ‘baseless’ the claims by the Aquino administration that capitalists cannot afford the said hike. Crisostomo cited the admission by Albay governor Joey Salceda that under the former administration, the country’s top 1000 corporations earned an average of P3.1 trillion, re-investing only P1 trillion, and pocketing the balance. He said that assuming the employment figure today is the same as of January 2009, a P125 wage hike for all service and industrial workers (22.432 million) would only amount to P2.80 billion. #