April 11, 2007
Rep. Renato Magtubo
Partido ng Manggagawa Party-List
TUCP's demand for a wage hike is right but a petition at the wage boards is wrong
The Partido ng Manggagawa supports the demand for a wage hike aired by TUCP but believes that the regional wage boards are the wrong venue. Instead of a petition at the wage boards we call on the TUCP to join the rest of the labor movement that has come together to push for a legislated wage hike.
The workers' clamor for economic relief through wage hikes and tax exemptions remain unmet with the stonewalling by the House of Representatives of the P125 legislated salary increase. Whether the workers get P75 or P125 is of secondary concern. What is paramount is an honest-to-goodness wage hike that will be truly beneficial because it is across-the-board and nationwide in scope.
The 18-year track record of the wage boards is a sorry history of wage orders that are not just stingy and not across-the-board but also full of exemptions, deferments and other loopholes. Thus the wage orders, though almost yearly promulgated, have been of little benefit to the greater majority of the workers. The wage boards serve as a pillar in the cheap labor policy of government. They must be abolished for being inutile.
A legislated, across-the-board and nationwide wage hike is a realistic possibility of course only with the convening of the new Congress in July. But a petition for the P75 wage hike through the wage boards will also be a valid prospect only after July with the lapse of the one year prohibition for new wage orders. Thus labor movement must use the time to muster its strength for the wage fight in the last half of the year.
If the TUCP will march side by side with of the rest of the labor movement to struggle for a legislated wage hike, the balance of forces would be better for a victory this time around. On the other hand if the TUCP turns its back on its brothers and sisters in the labor movement and goes solo in its petition at the wage board then the capitalists and the state will be applauding the break in labor's unity. ###