Court workers launch ‘Black Monday’ protest today

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – After airport workers held a silent protest last week, court employees nationwide are mounting today a “Black Monday” protest to dramatize their demand for an immediate wage increase.

Ferdinand Gaite, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) president, said all court employees will wear black shirts, armbands and ribbons in time for the flag ceremony and noon break.

He said all government employees are demanding a national minimum wage of P16,000 and are strongly against the order of President Aquino modifying the salary schedules for all civilian employees.

“Aquino’s executive order provides for a measly P500 a month or P20 a day increase for lowly paid employees but raised by as much as 212 percent the salaries of government officials,” Gaite said.

The order, he added, was already implemented in the executive branch but not in the judiciary, which is still awaiting the Supreme Court decision.

Employees of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) earlier staged a Black  “Mayday” protest against the Commission on Audit’s disallowances on salary increases and bonuses given to them since 2012.

Gaite said the CAAP workers’ situation mirrors the majority of the 1.4 million government employees whose salaries have long been pegged at starvation levels.

Many employees in government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions have received notices of disallowances and refund from COA under the Aquino administration.

  “The CAAP employees have been at the receiving end of the flak because of government’s inutility to improve the country’s civil aviation, but people failed to recognize their efforts despite the lack of funding and inferior equipment and technology,” Gaite said.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said about eight million workers are poor because of the very low salaries they are getting.

It said minimum wage earners are only getting an equivalent of P315.56 per day, which is way below the P417 daily poverty threshold.

“We are raising a red alert warning to the employers and government to address the disparity between minimum standard required for a family to survive and the current real value of the highest minimum wage. The wage boards must convene immediately to bring quality relief for workers who had been unable to cope with rising cost of living due to inadequate salary,” TUCP said in a statement.

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