Ma­y One 2024 Consolidate the power of the working class—RCTU

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaIlocoHiligaynon

In commemorating this year’s International Workers’ Day, the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions (RCTU) affirmed its commitment to its revolutionary task of deepening its investigation into the condition of the working class in order to galvanize their resistance. Bringing together workers along their common interest for higher wages, lower prices, proper and safe working conditions, the right to unionize, job security, and other democratic demands is the first step in consolidating their strength.

The RCTU firmly stands for the just demand for a national minimum wage equivalent to the living wage; against all forms of exploitation, injustice, and attacks by the combined forces of the state and capitalists. Its task is to reach out to the widest possible number of workers, whether unionized or not, including those in yellow unions.

In Marcos Jr.’s two years in office, wages were raised by an average of only ₱43-₱44 nationwide. As commodity prices continue to rise, the real value of workers’ wages is rapidly eroding. The current daily minimum wage of ₱610 in the National Capital Region has a real value of only ₱502.

The Marcos regime remains silent on raising workers’ wages to a real living wage of ₱1,200 and implementing a national minimum wage. At its core, the amount of ₱1,200 is very small compared to the enormous wealth created by Filipino workers.

Fight for a living wage

On May 1, various labor groups under the National Wage Coalition marched together in Metro Manila to call for an increase in the daily wage in the country. They pushed for the immediate enactment of a law to raise daily minimum wages by at least ₱150 across-the-board the minimum wage as the first step to achieving a living wage. The coalition consists of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.

In the public sector, government employees demanded a salary increase of up to ₱33,000 per month through the enactment of a new Salary Standardization Law (SSL). Teachers meanwhile demand on raising the salary of new teachers to ₱50,000.

Around noon, thousands of workers and other sectors led by the KMU and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) marched to the US Embassy to condemn the ongoing Balikatan Exercises 39-24 between US and Philippine military forces. They condemned US imperialism for trampling on the sovereignty of the Philippines and for dragging the country into its heightening conflict with its imperialist rival China. They also condemned Marcos regime’s charter change which it is promoting at the behest of the US.

Police tried to block protesters and used water cannons to disperse the march. Six young activists, dubbed the Mayo Uno 6, were arrested and detained. They were charged and required to pay a total of ₱252,000 as bail for their temporary freedom.

Workers’ day was also marked with protests in Angeles City, Calamba City, Rosario in Cavite, Legazpi City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Bacolod City and Davao City. Before the protest last May 1, widespread activities were also carried out by workers and government employees.

Overseas, Migrante International led activities in 15 protest centers in the US, in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

Consolidate the power of the working class—RCTU