Local News: Colmenares Insists on Legislated Wage Hike
Legislated wage increase is the answer to the regional wage boards established by the government to sabotage the implementation of the correct and proper wages or salaries which must be given the workers and that this must be replaced by legislated increases in the compensation of workers all over the country. Bayan Muna partylist Congressman Neri Colmenares said in an interview with Negros journalists at the public plaza where he was the invited guest speaker.
Colmenares said the wage boards have been set up all over the country to decide on how much wage increases are to be approved for the region’s work force. More often than not, it is the employers whose decision prevail. For one, in Western Visayas, the wage board only approved an increased of P12 per day, a mere pittance which does not even assuage the workers’ dire family situation.
Colmenares pointed out that the amount of P1,008 per day is the average living wage in Metro-Manila while their wage is only P426 per day. In Negros Occidental for one, the minimum wage is P265 but workers even do not receive this. This is only one-third of the living wage of P1,000.
But President Benigno Aquino III is against the legislated wage hike of P125 daily, reasoning out that it should not be legislated but tossed to the wage boards on all Regional areas. The President, said Colmenares, does not support the workers’ demands.
Instead, he is openly supporting the position of employers, said Colmenares.
If the legislated wage hike is not passed, Colmenares suggested that they support or proposed a people’s initiative. It’s in the Philippine constituents, he said.
“In the end, the RTWPB must be disbanded because it has not served its purpose,” said the BM congressman.
There is a counterpart Senate bill, although it is a little less than P125, Colmenares said of the proposed wage increase.
Both houses will just unite the contents of each proposal during the
bicameral committee meeting later. But the bill, once it passes the Congress’
committee could be discussed and voted upon in the plenary session. Thousands of
workers were mobilized by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros, and the
Kilusang Mayo Uno-Negros (KMU-Negros) during the rally yesterday, with the
support of member-organizations such as KMP-Negros, Kadamay, LFS,
Gabriela-Negros and allies.*