April 8, 2010
Leaders of the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) participated in the hearing called by the NCR wage board this afternoon at the Occupational Health and Safety Center in Quezon City to discuss the petition for a P75 wage hike for Metro Manila workers. In a position paper read at the hearing attended by labor representatives, Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, supported the demand for a wage hike but called for the abolition of the wage boards.
“The yawning disparity between the minimum wage and the cost of living is the clearest expression of a system failure. It is time to fight for a change in the law when the new Congress opens,” Magtubo asserted. The party-list group is advocating for the replacement of the regional wage boards by a “National Wage Commission with the mandate to fix wages based on the single criterion of cost of living.”
Magtubo was accompanied in the hearing by several militant union leaders. The group revealed that their participation in the wage hearings is in preparation for escalating the wage hike demand in the coming Labor Day commemoration. A massive motorcade of more than 500 motorcycles will be the key event of May 1 activity.
They emphasized that “the labor movement stands as one body and speaks with one voice in favor of a wage hike.” Magtubo added that “Today militant workers join the rest of its brothers and sisters in the labor movement in calling for a wage increase.”
He argued however that “Tomorrow when the NCR wage board decides not to grant the P75 wage petition, the labor movement must again close ranks to demand a change in the wage fixing law.” PM announced that they will push in the next Congress for the repeal of Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.
Magtubo decried that “The arguments against a wage hike are just black propaganda and blackmail. Why should we be afraid of additional money circulating in the economy due to a wage hike when billions of dollars in remittances entering the country is always applauded?”
In his presentation, he also criticized the “double standard of the wage fixing system.” He said that “Why is it that the prices of the goods and services bought by workers are not tempered by the capacity to pay of the consumers? In comparison, wages do not have to take into account a ‘profit margin for workers,’ just the daily bread of the masses, the bare necessities of life. In other words the cost of living must be the sole criterion for wage fixing.”