Workers picket Congress, demand wage hike bill’s passage before Christmas

Dec. 12, 2012

Press Release
12 December 2012

Workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the House of Representatives this morning (Dec. 12) to call for the passage of a bill that will legislate a PHP125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, saying the bill’s passage is one of the best Yuletide gifts that congressmen can give the workers.

The workers carried Christmas lanterns (parol) bearing their calls and images of President Noynoy Aquino, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and House Committee on Labor and Employment (COLE) chair Rep. Emil Ong depicted as Christmas “Grinches.”

The Grinch, a fictional character known for being greedy and anti-Christmas, appeared as the main antagonist in a children’s book titled How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

“This has got to be one of the worst Christmases for the country’s workers. The real value of wages has been depressed in recent years and a wage cut is underway for most of the country’s workers,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“If the country’s legislators really want a better Christmas for workers, they will approve the PHP125 Wage Hike Bill immediately. That will be a step forward towards giving workers some relief from rising prices and growing indebtedness,” he added.

KMU cited the Social Weather Stations’ third-quarter survey showing hunger increasing to 21 percent and unemployment increasing to 29.4 percent.

House Committee on Labor and Employment

KMU also condemned Northern Samar Rep. Emil L. Ong, COLE chairperson, for stalling the passage of the PHP125 Wage Hike or House Bill 375 to the House plenary.

The labor center claimed that Ong earlier told workers that the Luzon-wide consultation for the bill could be done away with and the House COLE could already prepare a committee report on the bill then transmit the bill to the plenary for deliberations.

This November, Ong said the Luzon-wide consultation is still necessary, but failed to arrange for it despite the prodding of labor groups.

“The COLE chairperson has failed to show that he is pro-labor on one of the most important bills for the country’s workers. He seems intent to end the 15th Congress without passing the PHP125 Wage Hike Bill,” Soluta said.

“We know that congressmen will be busy with their electoral campaigns next year and that Congress becomes productive only until December before an election year. Now is the time for the 15th Congress to pass this most important piece of legislation,” he added.

For reference:
Roger Soluta, 0928-721-5313
KMU secretary-general

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