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KMU hits wage commissions

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) accused yesterday the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) of peddling lies to justify its rejection of a bill seeking a P125 across-the-board wage increase.

In a statement, KMU chairman Elmer Labog said contrary to NWPC’s claims, the wage adjustment will not lead to massive retrenchment or soaring inflation as employers’ profits can absorb them.

“We condemn the NWPC for using the age-old tactic of blackmailing workers with retrenchment and inflation into accepting starvation wages,” he said. “The truth is that capitalists’ profits have increased over the years and can absorb a significant wage hike.”

A P125 wage hike is aimed at partially recouping the value that has been eroded by price hikes through many years, Labog said.

The NWPC said granting a wage hike will be bad for the economy and could lead to massive displacement of workers.

Its mandate and that of wage boards is to set policies on minimum wage and not to grant across-the-board salary adjustment, NWPC said.

Labog said since the Wage Rationalization Law was approved almost 25 years ago in June 9, 1989, wage boards have agreed to only meager increases, causing wages to lag behind the prices of basic goods and services.

“No worker should be removed from work and no cent should be added to the prices of goods and services because of a P125 across-the-board wage hike,” he said.

“That is, if capitalists allow a meager reduction in their profits that have been soaring for years.”

Labog said the KMU had called for the abolition of the NWPC for failing to serve the interest of workers.

“The NWPC’s recent statements against our call for a wage hike show that it should really be abolished,” he said.

“It is an instrument of big capitalists for pressing down wages and has long been considered a pest by workers.”

KMU said labor costs amount to only a small section of overall production costs.

“High power and water rates, trade liberalization and smuggling, and high taxes and government kickbacks are the factors that make doing business more difficult for small Filipino businessmen,” KMU said.

ELMER LABOG HIKE KILUSANG MAYO UNO KMU LABOG NATIONAL WAGES AND PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION NWPC WAGE WAGE RATIONALIZATION LAW WAGES
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