LABOR groups in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa) are seeking a P65 across-the-board wage increase on the grounds that prices of basic commodities have increased by 8 percent since last year.
Leading the filers is the affiliate in Mimaropa region of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), with Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza saying that from June 2008 to January 2010, consumer prices in Mimaropa rose by 8 percent and are now tending to rise to 9 percent as power, food and other basic commodities prices keep going up while the purchasing power of the peso is eroded.
“If wages remain stagnant, then more workers will certainly slide to poverty; that is why we petitioned the regional tripartite wages and productivity board to increase the salaries of workers in Mimaropa,” said Mendoza in a statement on Monday. “I hope the employers sector in Region 4-B will not be too greedy and callous and will not resist the proposed wage increases for workers.”
He said the gross regional domestic product in the region increased to P38.8 billion in 2008 from P26.2 billion in 2002 (minus Calabarzon or Region 4-A), with an average growth of 6.3 percent.
“Workers have largely contributed to the growth of the regional economy and therefore deserve to have a modest share of the fruits of economic development,” said Mendoza.
He said their proposed wage increase reflects the actual increase in prices in Mimaropa from June 2008 to January 2010. He anticipates the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) from January 2010 to December 2010, and the “equity supplement” of P1.07 per year, given for the past 21 years, to workers who have created new wealth but have not shared in the benefits from the growth of the regional economy.
“The quality of life of workers in Mimaropa must improve as the economy grows. That is the real meaning of equitable development. Our businessmen have enjoyed much from the fruits of economic development. The workers are not demanding too much. They just want a little share from the expansion of the economic pie,” said Mendoza.
The TUCP also awaits the decision of the labor department on its P75 across-the-board wage increase for workers in Metro Manila.
TUCP Party-List seeks the revision and amendment of Republic Act 6727, which created the regional wage boards and the system of regional determination and fixing of minimum wages. “Regional wage boards must really be proactive in favor of workers so that our working people will not be left behind.”
A large batch of labor groups thanked President Arroyo, meanwhile, for her support to the labor sector ahead of Labor Day, May 1.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said, “The labor leaders are grateful for the enactment of the amended Migrant Workers Act, Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners, Magna Carta of Women, and other pertinent laws and regulations that have helped the Filipino workers cope with the challenges of a volatile and struggling economy.”
He added the President appreciated the growing maturity of both the labor and management sectors that has resulted in industrial peace. “The peace and stability in the labor front was largely attained through the active cooperation of labor and management, as they resorted to less costly, more friendly and quicker means of settling their disputes.”
Among the organizations who thanked the President were the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, National Association of Trade Unions, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Associated Federation of Labor Unions, Confederation of Filipino Workers, National Mines and Allied Workers Union, National Union of Bank Employees, Associated Marine and Officers Union of the Philippines, International Seaman’s Mutual Labor Association, and Alliance of Workers in the Informal Economy/Sector. –Estrella Torres / Reporter, Businessmirror