Cebu News

Empathize with our plight

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — An official of militant labor group Partido Mangaggawa asked the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Visayas to empathize with them regarding how bad life is for ordinary workers.

“We can try to understand how employers feel about the pending wage hike proposals in Congress. But their permanent opposition to any proposal since time immemorial speaks volumes about their regard for the lives of ordinary workers in our country,” said PM-Cebu spokesman Dennis Derige.

Derige said that the group sees them constantly opposed to any wage hike proposal at the level of regional wage boards since 1989, and against the legislated wage proposals since 1999.

“In other words, they will cry wolf against any wage proposal, but neglect to mention how workers suffered a life of poverty. They won’t tell us that GDP and labor productivity more than doubled during the last three decades, but real wages of workers remained flat,” Derige said.

In fact, he said, even as employers up the hype of apocalyptic death of local industry and the El Niño of foreign investors, the fact remains that minimum wages all over the country fall under the national poverty threshold of ?13,797 per month for a family of five.

The same is true when economic managers assure everyone that GDP will remain within the 6% trajectory, he said.

He said that this won’t change the fact that after 35 years under the regional wage boards, guided by thousands of pages of Philippine Development Plans, more than 20% of our population remains poor, according to the latest SWS survey on self-rated poverty.

“The problem is that employers don’t feel this way as they always view wage hikes, union rights, and equitable distribution of wealth as anti-business. But we don’t require them to have a change of heart, in the same way workers won’t stop asking for fair share in the social wealth they have been creating for centuries,” Derige said.

Derige cited the necessity of a legislative wage hike as the regionalization of wages under RA6727 was an epic failure, wherein the highest wage rates, 35 years after, still fall short of meeting the poverty threshold.

Derige added that regional wage policies have not succeeded in attracting investments to the country's poorer regions, despite being one of the law's intended objectives and there is also a low level of investment despite low-wage incentives.

“We maintain that our call for legislated wage hikes is not intended to harm small businesses; rather, we believe that the positive ripple effects of higher take-home pay extend further than keeping wages at starvation levels,” Derige further said. — (FREEMAN)

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with