[Press Release] PM slams P10 wage hike as a “cruel Napoles joke”

Group slams P10 wage hike as a “cruel Napoles joke”

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The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) slammed the P10 wage hike in the National Capital Region (NCR) as a “cruel Napoles joke” inflicted on the workers. “Janet Napoles steals P10 billion from the people’s money and the government offers P10 in coins to workers as a consolation. While the people’s attention is focused on the billion peso pork barrel scam, the wage board thinks it can quietly dupe workers with a measly pay increase,” insisted Wilson Fortaleza, PM’s spokesperson.

Meanwhile PM called on the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) which had filed a P83 across-the-board wage petition to coordinate with other labor groups to protest the NCR wage board’s decision and launch a joint campaign for a living wage. “The TUCP’s rejection of the wage board’s decision is a good initial move. The next step should be to complement the TUCP’s appeal to the wage board with a call on workers to hold mass actions. If the middle class finds it necessary to call a Million People March for the abolition of the pork barrel, it is imperative on the working class to launch a mass movement to end the cheap labor policy,” Fortaleza argued.

He added that the P10 wage hike is a “dagdag-bawi scam.” “Government decides to give workers a P10 hike in wages but it will take it back with the proposed P10 increase in fares for the MRT and LRT. Further, prices of basic goods like rice have inflated so that in the end, workers are worse off than before,” Fortaleza explained.

“PM’s own study reveals that the cost of living in the NCR is already P1,200 as of April this year for a family of six and yet the new minimum wage adds up to only P466, which will not even buy half of the basket of goods and services,” Fortaleza said.

He continued that “This is the ugly reality of inequality in our country. The Philippines is the fastest growing economy in Asia yet only a few, the capitalist class, is benefiting from the increased wealth created by the working people. The assets of the ten richest Filipinos amount to some US$45 billion, which is equivalent to the yearly wages of 20 million minimum wage earners.”

PM contends that the wage boards have outlived their usefulness and should be replaced by a Wage Commission. Fortaleza stated that “The mandate of the National Wage Commission will be to fix wages based on the single criterion of cost of living. This is different from the wage boards which are bogged down by convoluted and contradictory 10-point criteria in fixing wages. The Wage Commission should raise the minimum wage to the level of the living wage by a mix of mechanisms such as direct pay increases, tax exemptions, price discounts and social security subsidies for workers.”

Press Release
September 7, 2013

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