Monday, June 7, 2010

KMU on P22 Metro wage hike: Too little, too late

KMU on P22 Metro wage hike: Too little, too late*

Date: 07 June 2010
Campaign: PhP 125 Legislated Wage Hike
Reference Person: Lito Ustarez, KMU executive vice-chairperson
Contact information: 0908-6491992

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed today the approval of a P22 wage hike in Metro Manila, saying the increase is too little and too late for workers who have been reeling from skyrocketing prices.

"This P22 wage increase is too little and too late for Filipino workers. It will hardly enable Metro Manila workers to cope with high prices of basic commodities. The last P15 increase in June 2008 was also the same at the time it was imposed. We’ve seen prices skyrocket since then, especially since the global financial and economic crisis erupted in the last quarter of 2008," said Lito Ustarez, KMU executive vice-chairperson.

"Petroleum products, for one, have increased prices at a fantastic rate since then. This has had a ripple effect on the prices of basic goods that is so strong it can be called tsunami effect. Rice, sugar, flour, meat, vegetables – all these have made news for price increases," Ustarez added.

KMU also criticized the Arroyo government for increasing the minimum wage in Metro Manila alone.

"The increase is also too little in another sense: what about workers outside
Metro Manila? The meager increase shows just how little the Arroyo regime appreciates
the role of workers in creating wealth for the country. And the fact that it’s imposed in Metro Manila alone shows how even less it appreciates the importance of workers in the provinces," said Ustarez.

"The Arroyo regime and Big Business are just using Metro Manila workers as showcase. They just want to say later on that they increased the minimum wage – however little and late – and to undermine workers groups who are set to call on the incoming Aquino regime to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage increase," he added.

Ustarez also said the Arroyo government has a bad sense of timing when it comes to granting wage increases.

"We’re not talking about a substantial wage increase here; we’re talking about P22. But the Arroyo regime won’t grant it on Labor Day, because that would give an impression that it is bowing down to workers’ pressure. The regime granted it a few days before the first day of school, when workers have already paid – or made some loans – for their children’s enrollment," the labor leader said.

"Maybe because the Arroyo regime and Big Business know in their hearts that the meager P22 wage hike is only good for what comes after enrollment – increasing children’s daily baon (allowance) by a little," Ustarez said.