P750-daily wage sought

Militants’ clamor follows TUCP’s bid for P710

Ahead of the May Day holiday, a labor advocate in the House of Representatives on Monday pressed the demand to raise the minimum wage to P750 a day nationwide, a move that would hike wages in Metro Manila by P213 a day.

P750-daily wage sought
PRESIDENTIAL DUMMY. Members of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno prepare at their office in Quezon City the effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte they will use during their rally tomorrow to mark Labor Day, a regular holiday to celebrate working people. Manny Palmero
“Workers, agricultural workers, farmers, urban poor and other sectors across the country have been demanding a P750 national minimum wage,” said Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao, saying the demand has become “a national people’s movement.”

READ: TUCP bats for P710 wage hike in Metro

Casilao said most are contractual or informal workers who earn even lower than the P340 a day minimum wage in their locations.

In Central Luzon, he said, workers such as those in the Clark and Subic special economic zones have been victims of the “no union, no strike” policy and contractual labor.

In Metro Manila and Calabarzon, he added, there is an upsurge of workers’ actions against unscrupulous contractual labor practices and calls for a P750 national minimum wage.

“This is a breakthrough movement,” said the lawmaker, who earlier visited picket lines at several companies where workers were demanding they be regularized and given better wages.

In the Visayas, agricultural workers belonging to the National Federation of Sugar Workers have been demanding wage increases for decades while in Mindanao, the workers of a company have been camped out in Manila to press the Labor department to execute the order to regularize workers.

“Filipino workers are fed up of being treated as slaves and marginalized, thus, the national and democratic movement for P750 national minimum wage, will certainly transform into a social upheaval,” he said.

On Sunday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the largest labor union, said it will be seeking a 710-peso-a-day across-the-board wage increase for the workers in the National Capital Region to lift more Filipinos out of poverty.

The group, led by its president Raymond Mendoza and other union officers, were expected to file the wage-hike petition before Metro Manila’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board on April 29.

If the union’s petition is approved, it will bring the minimum wage in Metro Manila to P1,247 per day and would benefit employees across-the-board, TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said.

“We are not hitting President Duterte or the government with this [wage hike petition], we are just telling the decision makers there is an urgent need to raise wages so that people can live decently,” Tanjusay said.

“It seems that some government economists have set the poverty threshold very much lower than what it should be.”

Tanjusay said the government considers a family consisting of five members who have a total monthly income of P10,481 as “out of poverty.”

But he says his group will call on the wages board to factor in the recent developments such as the inflationary spikes in the prices of food and other basic goods in setting “realistic wages.”

The minimum wage for the employees in Metro Manila is currently at P537 per day.

The TUCP is also set to file separate wage hike petitions in other regions. Petitions may be filed with the wage boards in Cebu and Davao within the week, Tanjusay said.

“We are still computing what the right amount should be in the other regions,” he said.

The labor group has traditionally filed its wage hike petitions in time for the celebration of Labor Day.

The police on Monday said they are ready to maintain peace and order on May 1.

“While Labor Day is supposed to be celebrated to pay fitting tribute to Filipino workforce, it has been historically marred by protest actions and public assemblies, often initiated by militant labor and cause-oriented groups,” PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said.

“Consistent with national policy, the PNP will support all lawful and peaceful activities in commemoration of Labor Day, but only within the bounds of the law,” he added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, meanwhile, said it has yet to detect any threat coming from communist rebels for the celebration of Labor Day on Wednesday.

“The only monitored activity by leftist activists so far is the conduct of rallies to push their labor agenda, which is already being addressed by the government and our lawmaking body,” said Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief. With PNA

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Topics: May Day holiday , House of Representatives , minimum wage , Ariel Casilao , National Federation of Sugar Workers

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