Myrna Berdin, coordinator of Unity for Workers Rights (U4), an alliance of workers inside the Mactan Export Processing Zone in Cebu, said that the legislation for a P125 wage increase is needed because of soaring prices and so that all workers across all the regions can benefit from the wage hike.
“We urge the Aquino administration this coming SONA to advise the Congress to pass the bill that will provide a P125 across the board wage hike to the Filipino workers. This is very much needed by workers all over the country especially because wage hikes have become very difficult to pass with the regional wage boards.”
“In Region 6 for example, the workers’ petition for wage hike was rejected by the regional wage board. They insist that there is no ‘supervening event’ and ruled no wage hike can be approved until September this year. But we, the workers, feel the burden everyday with the prices [of basic commodities] going up. Oil prices are in fact more expensive here in Cebu than in Metro Manila. The minimum fare has increased from P6.50 to P7.50. We can no longer buy a kilo of rice that is worth P30 or less. The increasing prices of basic commodities are burning holes in our pockets. ”
Cebu workers only receive P235-277 as daily minimum wage in non-agricultural sectors. Agricultural workers are entitled to a P235-245 minimum pay.
United in P125
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights documentation coordinator Armand Hernando noted that the campaign for the legislation of a P125 wage hike is united call of the workers all over the country against the exploitative regionalized wage system.
“The regional wage system has diffused and divided the workers struggle to attain significant wage hikes. It has also aggravated the exploitation of Filipino laborers. While some regions can get an increase at one time, some regions don’t. And while the highest minimum wage is only P426 in the NCR, the lowest is way lower at P222 at the ARMM. The call to legislate the P125 across the board wage hike is a united resistance not just against the very low wages per se but also against the ill system of regionalizing wages.”
“Especially at a time when the number of workers who can negotiate their wages through collective bargaining is nearly insignificant, a legislated wage hike will be an effective means of giving the workers immediate relief from the spiraling cost of living,” he added.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
for reference: Armand Hernando, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights Documentation Coordinator, 09228216283
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