In response to the clamor by labor groups for a national minimum wage of P750 to P800 a day, employers are raising disaster and doomsday scenarios of closures, layoffs and inflation. Behind the panic mode of employers is their opposition to any sharing of the wealth that has been created by labor in more than a decade of robust economic growth.
Even as inflation has undeniably eroded workers nominal wages, below the radar inequality is worsening due to the stagnation of real wages while productivity has booming. From 2001 to 2016, labor productivity grew by at least 50 percent, yet the real wages did not grow at all.
This is not a figment of workers’ imagination but a study by Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua as cited by Mahar Mangahas (Stagnation of real wages, PDI, 3 March 2018).
Workers have been denied their so-called “fair share in the fruits of production.” Workers as well as the economy will benefit more if government will exercise its police power to compel employers to share the wealth produced by the blood and sweat of laborers.
Employers profit from workers. They utilize the labor power of the latter to produce goods and services sold to the market. But employers pay workers less in terms of wages and benefits than the amount they have produced in the production of goods and services.
The difference between the amount paid to the workers and the amount they have produced and sold to the market is called profit and is wholly owned by the employer. This is how wealth in society is generated and how the wage system works from which employers profit.
The present constitution guarantees workers their just share in the fruits of their labor. But the prevailing wage regionalization system under RA 6727 and the behavior of employers which seek more profit than providing what is due to their workers make the condition of workers and their families worse that they cannot afford a decent living. The widening gap between workers’ wages and the rising cost of living and the prevalence of poverty in society are evidences of this unjust system of wage setting and wealth distribution.
PM reiterates its call to PDigong to certify urgent HB 7787 aimed to abolish the regional wage boards and provides a national minimum wage of Php 750 to all workers and penalties to abusive employers.
PM also calls on Secretary Bello to stand for and behalf of workers welfare by not speaking as if he was the secretary of the DTI.
May 30, 2018