Saturday, April 23, 2011

The just demand for a P125 increase in the minimum daily wage

The just demand for a P125 increase in the minimum daily wage*

April 21, 2011

The democratic mass movement in the country has for years been fighting for a legislated P125 hike in the workers' daily wage and a P6,000 raise in the monthly salaries of government employees.

The struggle for a higher minimum wage aims to provide the suffering workers at least temporary relief. It is a struggle for a decent and living wage for the benefit of workers' families. It is thus a struggle to reclaim the right to live as human beings--a right the working class has fought for in a century of struggle.

The P125 raise actually represents a partial wage adjustment in the face of rapidly rising prices. It is, in fact, not enough to help workers' wages cope with the runaway inflation these past years.

The big capitalists and the ruling regime are hellbent on blocking this just demand and have been using it as the boogeyman behind bigger production costs and higher inflation. In fact, they simply do not want any reduction in their profits.

A study by IBON Foundation shows that in 2008, all enterprises employing at least 20 workers raked in P895.2 billion in profits. A P125 increase in the minimum daily wage would translate to P135 billion in additional operating costs, leaving them with P759 billion in profits.

This is a 15% reduction. Among Metro Manila firms, the reduction would be 17.3%. As for the top 1,000 corporations, which enjoyed a 500% increase in income from 2001 to 2009, the reduction would merely be a drop in the bucket.

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