₱35 wage increase in Metro Manila, a grave insult to workers

This article is available in Pilipino

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the measly ₱35 wage increase approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in the National Capital Region (NCR) today, July 1. The wage increase, which is even lower than last year’s ₱40 increase, will take effect after 15 days.

“On the second anniversary of Marcos Jr in office, his ‘gift’ to workers is a grave insult,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general. He added that the regime’s so-called “wage review” and consultation with workers is useless and mere window dressing, which granted workers the insulting wage increase.

“It’s not even enough for a kilo of rice!” Adonis said. The market price of rice ranges from ₱51-₱64 per kilo, while the prices of vegetables, meat, eggs and other basic commodities continue to rise. Meanwhile, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is set to increase its electricity rate by ₱2.31 per kilowatt hour from July to September.

KMU also criticized the Marcos regime’s use of regional wage boards to cut the wage increase instead of implementing a nationwide minimum wage through legislation. The setting of wages per region is implemented through the enactment of the Wage Rationalization Act (Republic Act No. 6727) in 1989.

“₱35 wage increase, 35 years of failure of regional wage boards. The Wage Rationalization Act that gave birth to regional wage boards has not benefited workers at all,” according to Adonis. These councils do not listen to worker’s demands and instead side with the interests of employers. “They deserve nothing less than to be abolished!” he said.

Starting mid-July, workers in Metro Manila will receive a daily wage of ₱645. Meanwhile, the minimum wage for agricultural, service or retail workers with 15 or fewer employees, and manufacturing with less than 10 regular workers is set at ₱608.

What KMU is demanding is a living wage, but what the regime has given to workers is worse than worthless. “Marcos Jr thinks he can fool us with his PR stunts and whitewashing. For us workers, his legacy is clear – stingy, negligent, deceptive, fascist!” Adonis stressed.

The militant labor center urged fellow workers to criticize and condemn the Marcos regime for its blatant disrespect for workers’ demands. The sector should strengthen its struggle to push for a national minimum wage based on the living daily expenses of a family.

AB: ₱35 wage increase in Metro Manila, a grave insult to workers