The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) slammed President Benigno Aquino III’s rejection of the wage hike demanded by the workers groups on Labor Day. “PNoy is parroting the blackmail and black propaganda of capitalists in arguing that a wage increase will lead to inflation and layoffs. It is time for capitalists to sacrifice for a change, that is for them to absorb the salary hike through less profit instead of passing it on as price increases,” explained Renato Magtubo, PM chair.
He also clarified that DO 18-A falls short of workers’ demand to regulate the widespread practice of contractualization. “The loopholes provided by DO 18-A and the Labor Code plus lax enforcement by the Labor Department are the reasons why despite the prohibitions, the ‘5 months endo’ work is a raging epidemic. We call on PNoy to certify as urgent the proposed Security of Tenure bill and deputize labor leaders as labor inspectors in the enforcement of labor standards,” Magtubo averred.
He added that “PNoy is echoing the usual capitalist horror stories. Why should we be afraid of additional money circulating in the economy due to a wage hike when billions of dollars in remittances entering the country is always applauded? If the stronger purchasing power of OFW families is a positive factor in the economy then should not the same thing hold for more money in the hands of workers which we will use to buy the necessities of life? A wage hike will be good for the workers and will also be beneficial to the economy because it will spur the production of more goods and provision of more services.”
He called on the newly formed Nagkaisa, which led the historic 20,000-strong rally at Mendiola yesterday, to plan for the next stage of the fight for a wage hike, end of contractualization, repeal of the oil deregulation and electricity privatization, and a moratorium on demolitions. “The unity of labor has made government listen to our concerns. The next step is the struggle of workers to make government grant our demands,” Magtubo insisted.
“Why is it that the prices of the goods and services bought by workers are not tempered by the capacity to pay of the consumers? The answer is that prices take into account the cost of production with a margin included for the profit of capitalists. If that is how prices are fixed in this society called capitalism, then the price of the only thing sold by workers—their labor power—should also be computed in the same way. Meaning, it must be based on the cost of production of labor power. And this is precisely the cost of living of workers and their families, which in Metro Manila is now more than PhP 1,000 daily,” Magtubo argued.