MANILA — Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno hailed today a forum of legislators in the House of Representatives which takled the need for and prospects of a legislated wage hike, saying the increasing prices of basic goods and services warrant such a measure.
The legislators’ forum was organized by the HOR Labor Committee headed by Northern Samar Rep, Emil Ong upon the request of Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, author of House Bills 375 and 3746 which seek to legislate a significant increase in the minimum wages of private- and public-sector workers, respectively.
While KMU is pushing for a P125 across-the-board wage hike across the country, it said the holding of the forum, which discussed a legislated wage hike in general, is a most welcome development.
“While we are pushing for a P125 across-the-board wage increase nationwide, we welcome all efforts to discuss, and forge unity on, the need for a legislated wage hike,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“We can deliberate and debate on the amount, but we should all agree that a significant wage hike is much needed now, something that can only be achieved through legislation,” he added.
“The Filipino workers and people need an immediate relief from the high and still rising prices of basic goods and services,” he said.
COLA not enough
KMU said the Cost of Living Allowance approved by the Aquino government last May is not enough to at least give relief to the Filipino workers. It cited the following research:
– According to Ibon Foundation, an independent think-tank, the current minimum wage of P404 in the National Capital Region is just 2/5 of the estimated family living wage of P988. In 2001, the NCR minimum wage was 1/2 of the estimated family living wage.
-The August 2011 update of the UBS research on the wage levels and purchasing power in 72 cities shows that Manila has the second lowest wage levels (besting only Mumbai) and third lowest purchasing power (besting only Nairobi and Jakarta).
-The Ibon Foundation also said that a P125 across-the-board wage increase nationwide will only mean a 15% reduction in the profits of the companies in the country.
-Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, economic adviser of former Pres. Arroyo, admitted that in the period 2001-2010, the total earnings of the country’s top 1,000 corporations amounted to P3.1 trillion – only P1 trillion of which was reinvested, while P2.1 trillion was pocketed as dividends or stockholders’ earnings.
“The COLA granted by the Aquino government last May does little to help Filipino workers cope with high prices,” Labog said.