Wage Hike Justified, Says Ibon; KMU to GMA: Dont Sabotage Labor Day

Apr. 29, 2006

Satur appeals for calm on May 1, but directs call to Palace

Dole schedules various Labor Day-related activities

DAVAO CITY (davaotoday.com) — Aside from the spiraling cost of living, increasing labor productivity is another justification for granting a wage hike to the countrys workers, according to independent think-tank Ibon Foundation.

Figures from the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) show that labor productivity, or the contribution of each worker to the local economy, increased in all of the countrys regions, although it decreased by a negligible 1% on the national level.

The highest productivity was recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR), where each worker contributed P423,337 in 2004 to the gross domestic product, or P1,356.85 per working day. But the legislated daily minimum wage in NCR is only P325 (which includes a P50 emergency cost of living allowance).

The above figures highlight the justness of organized labors demand for a P125 across-the-board nationwide hike in the daily minimum wage, Ibon said. This demand is particularly urgent in the context of skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services and the increasing cost of living. According to Ibon estimates, as of March a family of six members in the NCR needs a minimum of P666.45 to meet their basic needs.

But even government tacitly admits that a wage hike is long overdue. NWPC figures peg the daily living wage for a family of six (as of February 2006) at P744.

This Labor Day is a suitable time to recognize workers important contribution to the local economy. Government can do this by providing workers a much-needed respite from the rising cost of living and granting their legitimate demand for a P125 wage increase, the think tank said.

Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region warned President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from invoking what it called baseless paranoia of destabilization plots to sabotage the scheduled Labor Day activities on Monday.

In a press conference on Friday, KMU revealed its preparations for the forthcoming International Labor Day and assailed the Arroyo administrations earlier pronouncements that the celebration will be a staging point for destabilization plots of distressed elements in the AFP who are members of the Makabayang Kawal Pilipino.

This government is hell-bent on suppressing our guaranteed right to celebrate the most revered day for us workers, KMU-SMR secretary general Omar Bantayan said. It is insulting for the working class to be subjected to these groundless accusations and be deprived of celebrating this historical day of militancy. It is obvious where this paranoia is coming from — Arroyos desperate attempt to cling to power.

This came after Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye issued a warning on Friday to those who intend to overthrow the government not to test the mettle of the authorities who will move forcefully in case of a clear and present danger to the Republic.

Bantayan countered that it is the people who should be warning the Arroyo administration not to test their patience. It is not this government who is trying to make both ends meet with meager salaries in the face of rising prices of basic commodities. It is the poor Filipino family who will be in the streets on Monday to venerate the militant struggles of the Filipino workers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in the region has lined up programs and activities in celebration of the 104th Araw ng Paggawa or Labor Day on May 1, 2006 with the theme, Ang Galing Mo, Manggagawang Pilipino!

Dole-11 regional director Ma. Gloria A. Tango announced during the Monday convocation program of their office that various programs and activities would be undertaken starting April 28 to May 2, 2006 for this Labor Day celebration.

Director Tango said that in cooperation with Gaisano Mall of Davao and Smart, their office in inviting fresh graduates and job seekers to the 2006 Labor Day Jobs Fair on April 28 to May 1, 2006 at the Atrium of Gaisano Mall.

The April 28 and May 1 schedule are for local employment of which service and technical positions, managerial and supervisory positions, accounting graduates, teachers, chefs, general associates positions, nurses call center agents and animators and many more are available. While on April 29 and 30, 2006 schedule are for overseas, job vacancies in Australia, Dubai, Hongkong, Singapore Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Tango also announced that on May 1, 2006, the PGMA Training for Work would be launched in selected places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with simultaneous distribution of coupons.

She said the PGMA Training for Work Coupon is a scholarship program under the Presidents Pump Priming Program. The scholarship will be offered to job seekers applying as contact center agents, animators, software developers, medical/legal transcriptionists, who fell short of the hiring standards because of lack of competency and skill required by the job. The government has allocated Php500 Million for 100,000 scholars for this project.

On Labor Day, Arroyo will lead in the distribution of scholarship certificates in Metro Manila and selected areas nationwide, including Davao City, Tango said.

On May 2, Dole will conduct a symposium on Social Protection for Unorganized Sector in Davao Region at Linmarr Apartelle, Dacudao Street, Davao City.

The Symposium on SSS benefits and PhilHealth aims to increase the awareness of both worker and management in unorganized companies regarding social protection. The active Accredited Co-Partners (ACPs) from the informal sector are also invited so they can get more information on how they can avail of the benefits from SSS and PhilHealth and disseminate the same information to their members, Director Tango conveyed. (davaotoday.com)

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