CEBU, Philippines – The call to stop mass layoffs and labor contractualization rang loud and clear in protests on Labor Day yesterday as the demand to reform the wage fixing system and abolish the wage boards were also highlighted in the protests led by the partylist Partido ng Manggagawa.
Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson criticized the government for freezing wages for the past two years and for its announcement that no wage hike is forthcoming.
Another partylist, the Trade Union Congress Party is likewise calling for higher wages and better benefits.
TUCP also called for a low-cost and decent housing for all the workers, as well reduction in the power and water rates, which would eventually help unburden the workers.
Derige said that some 1,000 workers assembled in Barangay Pajo in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday morning and then marched to the gates of the Mactan Export Processing Zone II and held a program to highlight their solidarity with the locked-out Alta Mode workers and the Philippine Airlines employees who are facing retrenchment by May 31.
Aside from the Alta Mode union and the PAL Employees Association, unions of General Milling Corp., Prince Warehouse and Lami Foods, displaced workers associations, and the newly-formed Airport Transport Workers Union participated during the rally.
PM also led Labor Day rallies in Manila, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Davao City, Iligan City and Koronadal City.
Meanwhile, Department of Labor and Employment-7 regional director Elias Cayanong, who is also chairman of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, said the board has not reached a consensus yet on whether or not to approve the petitions of labor groups to increase the minimum wages of workers in the region.
He said that they are still on consultation with regards to the wage hike.
Cayanong said that basing on the consultations done by the RTWPB, majority of business owners in the Region 7 especially in Cebu oppose a wage hike but said that as of press time, consultations are still ongoing.
He said that prior to acting on the two different petitions for a wage increase in the region the RTWPB-7 has yet to hear both the side of department store owners and similar businesses and the labor sector to present their stand on salary increase proposals.
Also, the provincial government held a jobs fair at the Cebu International Convention Center where fresh graduates and the unemployed availed of job vacancies. (FREEMAN NEWS)