MANILA (21-March-2012) – “Heartless and revolting.” That was how labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno described Pres. Aquino’s rejection of calls for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide on the basis of an erroneous computation, saying the president is showing callousness toward the plight of Filipino workers and the poor.
In a press briefing yesterday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III made some computations regarding workers’ call for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide that show that the proposal is “not practicable.”
KMU claims, however, that the computation is seriously flawed, using the entire number of people in the labor force (38 million) and not only the number of wage and salary workers in the private sector (15.6 million) as a multiplicand.
Proposals for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, however, will only cover wage and salary workers in the private sector and not the entire labor force.
“Workers have been calling for a P125 wage hike as a form of relief from soaring prices, hunger, and poverty. It is most callous for the Aquino regime to dismiss the call on the basis of some incorrect use of data,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“It is revolting that Pres. Aquino is not taking workers’ and poor people’s calls for immediate relief seriously. In his haste to uphold the interests of big foreign and local capitalists, he has made such a very stupid computation,” he added.
Labog also condemned as misleading the PowerPoint presentation shown by Valte in the press briefing showing the total yearly cost of a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide to be “P1,605,500,000 trillion” or P1.6 sextillion.
“This is an old tactic: to portray workers as asking for too much and making many unreasonable demands. Pres. Aquino merely brought the argument to the most absurd level so far,” Labog said.
“Our demand for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide is both reasonable and practicable. This immediate relief for us workers amounts to just a meager reduction in capitalists’ profits,” he added.
“Workers know that labor costs account for a very small portion of production costs. Workers also know that wages are very small compared with the profits of capitalists – especially those of the big foreign and local ones,” Labog said.
KMU cited an April 2011 research by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing that a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide will only amount to a 15% reduction in the profits of establishments which have 20 employees and higher.
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