Broad labor coalition calls for wage increase on Labor Day

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Various labor groups under the National Wage Coalition marched together to mark International Labor Day, May 1, in Metro Manila according call for an increase in the daily wage in the country. They pushed for the enactment of at least a ₱150 across-the-board minimum wage increase. The coalition said the call to raise workers’ wages to the living wage is just.

Until now, the wage increase proposal is still pending in Congress, according to the group. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. refused to face and speak with the workers during his two years in power for their demands. “The coalition is united to finally end the vicious cycle of wage injustice, inequality and poverty that plagues millions of working class families,” it said.

They believe it is timely to legislate a wage increase, as the last was made in 1989. The measly trickles of increases implemented through the “regional wage boards” in accordance with the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989 are insufficient and insurvivable. The regime should declare this a priority bill, they said.

“For 35 years, workers have been struggling to squeeze their wages. Unless they borrow loans and drown in debt, they will fail to cope with the rising prices of electricity, water and gas,” they say. Low wages has caused insufficient nutrition of workers’ families, malnutrition and stunting of children and compromise the future workforce, they added.

The coalition also denounced low incomes and job insecurity suffered by gig workers or delivery riders, exploitation and oppression of women workers and unemployment for young workers.

At the same time, they also called for raising the salaries of government employees to ₱33,000 per month through the enactment of a new Salary Standardization Law (SSL). They also demanded respect for the workers’ right to unionize and their other rights.

The coalition is made up of unions, federations and central unions that are part of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa!).

After the program, 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 2024 between the US and Philippine military forces. The war exercises began on April 22 and will end on May 10. They condemned US imperialism for trampling on the sovereignty of the Philippines and dragging the country in its push to intensify tensions against its rival imperialist China.

They also denounced the Marcos regime’s promotion of charter change (chacha) at the behest of the US. It will allow 100% foreign ownership in some key sectors of the country’s economy.

Jeepney drivers and operators joined the march to the embassy under the group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagka-Isang ng Transportasyon (Manibela) for the last day of their strike and mass protests against the anti-poor and anti-national Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) and its accompanying forced franchise consolidation.

Police violently broke up the protest at the embassy. A water cannon was fired against them and six activists were arrested. The police’s violent dispersal injured some of the youth. The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) mobilized an estimated 12,000 against the rallyists.

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.

AB: Broad labor coalition calls for wage increase on Labor Day