March 6, 2010
The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) declared its support for the demand for a wage hike but also called for a reform of the wage fixing system. “A P75 wage hike is reasonable and not excessive. But we doubt it will be granted by the NCR wage board. That is why we are batting for the abolition of the wage boards and the establishment of a National Wage Commission instead,” argued Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.
On Monday morning, Women’s Day, some 200 women PM members will have a rally at the Department of Labor of Employment office at Intramuros to push for the wage demand. The wage hike and reproductive health are the main calls of the labor group for this year’s women’s day.
“The P75 wage demand will not prosper unless President Gloria Arroyo supports it. That unfortunately is the problem with the tripartite regional wage board. If Malacanang does not give the go signal for a wage hike, the wage petition will be stymied at the wage board,” Magtubo explained.
PM is pushing for the abolition of the wage boards that decide on wage hike for the different regions. Instead the party-list group wants a National Wage Commission to be formed with the mandate to set a national minimum wage based solely on the cost of living.
Magtubo dared President Arroyo to declare her support or rejection of the P75 wage petition. He added “The hearings for the P75 wage hike are a moro-moro for in the end it is GMA’s body language that will determine its fate. Do the advocates for the P75 wage hike have GMA’s ear? Despite the pressure to be populist in an election year, our fearless forecast is that GMA will silently reject the wage increase petition.”
The labor group is criticizing the regional wage boards for cheapening the cost of labor and depressing wages by instituting a system of almost a hundred different wage levels in the country. PM also disapproves of the 10-point formula for determining wages and advocates that the single criterion of cost of living be used.
Magtubo insisted that “There must a national standard of living that must be matched by a national minimum wage. The wage is the price of the worker’s labor power and as every other commodity in the market its price must reflect its cost of production, which in the case of the worker is nothing else but the cost of living of his or her family.”
The minimum wage in the NCR has been stuck at P382 for almost two years but the cost of living already reaches P1,000 a day in Metro Manila for a family of six according to various studies.