Friday, October 26, 2018

Employers still owe workers for productivity growth

As the NCR wage board conducts its last hearing today on the proposed wage hike, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) asserted that employers still owe workers for the productivity growth of the past decade and a half.

“Employers keep on harping that inflation is merely temporary and so that a big wage hike is uncalled for. Yet they are utterly silent on the long-term stagnation of real wages despite the economic growth for the past 15 years,” insisted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “According to data from the Department of Finance, 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 gotten even a crumbs. 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.”

“A concrete example of this is the plight of workers of the cigarette giant Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC). Workers met all their key performance indicators and yet 310 employees were retrenched in August. The Lucio Tan group of companies reported a total income of PhP 3.63B for the first quarter of this year and 65 percent or PhP 2.35B came from PMFTC. The company’s reward for increased labor productivity was mass layoff!,” Magtubo argued.

The mass layoff at PMFTC has led to the biggest strike yet this year. Tomorrow, the workers will on their first month at the picketlines.

“The wage hearing today is an utter sham. Lutong makaw na ang wage increase. Our fearless forecast is that the NCR wage board will order a measly P20 minimum wage hike. This is a foregone conclusion as the DOLE and ECOP have already revealed their preference for P20 in coins for the hardworking Filipino workers,” Magtubo averred.

He concluded that “P20 does not even compensate for the runaway inflation of 7% in the NCR which translates to an erosion of P35.84 in the minimum wage of P512. Much less, it cannot offset the productivity growth that has been denied workers since 2001.” 

October 26, 2018

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