DAVAO CITY, Philippines —A labor union group is demanding a national wage increase for workers in private and public sectors.
Calling it as “immediate relief” for low wage earners, Jerome Adonis, secretary-general of KMU and convener of the All Workers Unity, said it is high time that a national minimum wage of P750 for workers in the private sector and P16,000 for government workers should be implemented.
“It must be clarified to President Duterte that we are not asking for a managerial level pay. The national minimum wage demands were immediate reliefs from the below subsistence pay private and state workers suffered for many decades,” Adonis said.
Earlier on, Duterte admitted the government couldn’t yet afford to provide those in the government a pay at par with those in the private sector, citing the government employs “millions of workers.”
“You know it would be incongruity to discuss it fully. And you keep on asking until now there are thousands of casuals in government. You know, government provides employment kung maaari lang thousands upon thousands of employees to run the state. Iyon kanila ba naman, ilan lang, 500 (You know, government provides employment if possible to thousands upon thousands to run the state, while they only have a few, 500). We employ millions,” he said during a media conference here upon his arrival from his visit to Japan Thursday night, Oct. 27.
Adonis told Davao Today that the NMW will only amount to 70 percent and 50 percent of the Family Living Wage for private and public sector workers computed by Ibon Foundation which is currently at P1096 per day in the National Capital Region.
“For decades, it has been tremendously unfair that ordinary state workers suffered and were forced to tighten belts at every inflation,” Adonis said, adding that high ranking officials of government owned or controlled corporations enjoy bigger salaries and allowances.
“We are not demanding managerial level pay, the NMW demand is a much-needed relief so that ordinary workers and employees in both private-public sector can eat three times a day,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said the regularization of contractual employees, both in the private and public sectors and the demand for a national minimum wage “are two separate issues and concerns that the current administration should immediately address to provide immediate and temporary relief to all workers.”
Casilao said the P16,000 minimum wage for government workers is “very much doable.” (davaotoday.com)