Monday, November 12, 2018

Partido Manggagawa supports P500 subsidy, bats for national minimum wage


 

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) declared its support for the proposal by the group ALU-TUCP for a P500 monthly food subsidy for minimum wage earners even as it called for the abolition of the regional wage boards.

Last Friday, the labor coalition Nagkaisa and the KMU held a joint protest at the Department of Labor and Employment main office in Intramuros in criticism of the recent P25 wage increase.

“The P500 subsidy is good as a short term relief but for a long-term alternative, we need to reform the wage fixing mechanism and replace wage regionalization with a national minimum wage indexed to inflation and productivity,” asserted Rene Magtubo, national chair of PM.

He stated that “As we call on organized labor to unite for the P500 subsidy, we further appeal for unity around the demand to abolish the regional wage boards.”

The P500 subsidy proposal came in the wake of the recent P25 wage increase for NCR workers. The salary hike was slammed by labor groups as too small to compensate for the erosion in workers’ wages due to inflation. PM’s cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day.

PM argues that government and employers representatives have majority control of regional wage boards and they connive to fix wage cheap on the argument of capacity to pay. Magtubo explained that “Labor Sec. Bello himself asserted that pay increases are tempered by the criteria of capacity to pay. Why is it that when employers buy the labor power of workers, their capacity to pay is paramount but when workers buy their daily necessities, their capacity to buy is not considered? This is the double standard of capitalism!”

The group’s criticism is that there are about a hundred minimum wages in the country that are different not just across regions but even across cities and municipalities in industrial areas as Calabarzon and Central Luzon. “Wage differentials vary greatly. The NCR rate of P537 is almost double the ARMM rate of P280. Yet the cost of living is not significantly different across regions, cities and municipalities. What kind of system is this!,” Magtubo claimed. ###

Photos of the DOLE protest against the P25 wage hike can be accessed at PM’s FB page.

November 12, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Media Advisory: Labor groups protest vs measly P25 wage hike today

Media Advisory
November 9, 2018
Partido Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09452182693

Labor groups protest vs measly P25 wage hike today

What: Labor groups to hold picket-protest

When: Today, November 9, 10:00 am

Where: DOLE Intramuros

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE

Monday, November 5, 2018

P25 is alms not relief to overworked yet underpaid NCR workers


Image result for bello wage hike

DOLE Sec Bello announced this morning the P25 wage hike earlier leaked by ECOP as if it was a moment of glory for him. P25 is just alms not relief to overworked yet underpaid Filipino workers. P25 cannot compensate for the 7% runaway inflation in Metro Manila and real wage stagnation despite 50% productivity growth from 2001 to 2016.

The whole controversy about the NCR wage hike just proves that no matter how hard workers make a devotion to Santo Rodrigo, they will not be blessed with a sufficient wage order. The problem lies in the system of wage regionalization in which wage boards base their wage hikes on the capacity to pay of employers and not on the cost of living of workers.

P25 is short by 30% to make up for the P35.84 erosion in wages due to the 7% inflation in the NCR recorded in August this year. Partido Manggagawa’s own cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day, more than double the new minimum wage of P537.

Even if the NCR wage board had ordered a P35.84 wage hike, it still means real wages are just frozen. But workers should partake of a just share in the fruits of production as mandated by the Constitution

Government and employers representatives control the majority of the regional wage boards and they connive to fix wage cheap on the argument of capacity to pay. Sec. Bello himself asserted today in the presscon, in response to questions, that wage hikes are tempered by the criteria of capacity to pay.

Why is it that when employers buy the labor power of workers, their capacity to pay is paramount but when workers buy their daily necessities, their capacity to buy is not considered? This is the double standard of capitalism!

This latest episode is a wakeup call for organized labor to unite around the call to abolish the wage boards and enact a new system of wage fixing that will implement the Constitutional mandate of a living wage for workers. The labor movement has shown the capacity to unite around the demand to end endo. It is high time to rally round the call for end wage regionalization.

November 5, 2018

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Cigarette firm lost P4.5B in production due to month-long strike--union


 
Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. has lost some P4.5 billion in production due to a month-long strike, according to the union. The Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (PMFTCLU-NAFLU) has been on strike since September 28 and has maintained picketlines at the factories in Parang, Marikina and Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

“We estimate that in every shift, some P60 million worth of cigarettes have not been produced as scheduled. In three shifts per day, that is a total of P180 million. In the 25 lost production days since the start of the strike, that is about P4.5 billion,” declared Rey Almendras, PMFTCLU president.

Workers unrest is rising with a series of labor strikes in recent months and the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco strike is the biggest yet. Another mediation meeting is scheduled by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on November 9 in Marikina near the picketline.

In contrast, NutriAsia announced in July that it had lost P200 million in income in the course of one month due to the strike at its Marilao plant.

In August the Lucio Tan Group announced a P3.63 billion total income for the first quarter of this year. Some P2.35B or 65% of the total income of the Lucio Tan Group came from its tobacco business.

“The Constitution mandates that workers receive their fair share of the fruits of production. But at PMFTC, retrenchment was the company’s reward for increased labor productivity and workers meeting key performance indicators,” argued Almendras.

PMFTCLU is alleging unfair labor practice over the closure and retrenchment. The union slammed the bad faith and deceit attending the so-called right-sizing plan of management. The group believes that union busting is the real agenda as the non-union sister factory in Sto. Tomas, Batangas just regularized 100 contractual employees. In contrast, the Marikina and Vigan plants are both unionized factories. Moreover, the Vigan plant is now being operated by a new entity but with contractual workers.

Photos of the strike can be accessed at PMFTCLU’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zpipsamonte/

November 5, 2018

Duterte asked to endorse national minimum wage

Image result for image duterte dialogue labor groups 


Amidst the controversy over the wage hike for Metro Manila workers, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse a national minimum wage instead of the present system of regional salaries.

“In a dialogue with labor groups in 2017, the President denounced what he called ‘provincial wages’ and expressed preference for a nationwide minimum wage. Given the delay in the NCR wage order and further with inflation untamed, now is the time for President Duterte to turn mere words into decisive action,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

There is yet no wage order for workers in the NCR as the P25 hike was called unofficial by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines said last Tuesday that the NCR wage board had agreed on a P25 salary increase for minimum wage earners.

The alleged P25 wage increase has already been slammed by labor groups as too small to compensate for the erosion in workers’ wages due to inflation. PM’s cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day.

“We urge President Duterte to abolish regional wages as he had promised and endorse a national minimum wage based on a living wage. Since the President expressed disgust at provincial wages, he apparently knows that the policy of wage regionalization started in 1989 has led to the cheapening of labor. An evaluation of the policy performance of wage regionalization will show that it has consistently resulted in measly salary hikes that are below inflation rates and disregards economic growth” Fortaleza insisted.

He explained that “There are about a hundred minimum wages in the country that are different not just across regions but even across cities and municipalities in industrial areas as Calabarzon and Central Luzon. Wage differentials vary greatly. For example, the difference between the NCR rate of P512 and the ARMM rate of P280 is a whopping 45%. Yet the cost of living is not significantly different across regions, cities and municipalities. What kind of system is this!”

“A national minimum wage should not just be indexed to inflation but also to productivity. Real wages have not risen from 2001 to 2016 even as labor productivity has grown by 50% in that period. In other words, the pie has become bigger but workers have not received crumbs even. Instead employers have greedily taken all the increase in size of the pie. Workers have been denied their fair share in the fruits of production,” Fortaleza ended.

November 3, 2018