Workers seek pay hike on Labor Day

Published by rudy Date posted on May 1, 2017

By: Jerome Aning, Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer , May 01, 2017

Thousands of workers and other protesters, including at least 8,000 in Western Visayas, will join Labor Day rallies on Monday to press for higher wages, job security and an end to labor contractualization.

The rallies will be held in Metro Manila and other areas like the cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban and Davao as the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will host 54 job and business fairs throughout the country that offer more than 200,000 jobs.

To allow workers to cope with rising cost of living, labor groups said they would seek from President Duterte substantial increases in the minimum wage.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier announced that Mr. Duterte would present the surprise gift to workers at a Labor Day assembly in Davao City.

“We welcome the gesture of President Duterte to give a gift to workers as the government’s appreciation to those who build and sustain the country’s high economic growth,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson for the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).

A financial package as a Labor Day surprise is good, but Filipino workers need a more substantial wage hike, according to the labor alliance Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

Cash subsidy

ALU-TUCP has proposed an emergency P500 monthly cash subsidy for workers whose daily pay rate is below the 2015 government standard of P393 needed daily by a Filipino family of five to survive.

That proposal will apply to all workers outside Metro Manila, where the daily minimum wage is P491.

ALU-TUCP also plans to petition the regional wage boards to approve pay increases, including P157 across-the-board for workers in Metro Manila.

KMU is seeking a national daily minimum wage of P750 for workers in the private sector and a monthly pay of P16,000 for government employees to bring the “current poverty wages closer to living standards.”

On the eve of Labor Day, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called on his fellow senators to pass a measure granting additional pay to government workers (whether permanent, contractual, temporary or casual) rendering service at night.

Besides demanding a wage increase, workers are expected to take to task Mr. Duterte on his promise to end labor contractualization or end of contract (“endo”), the widespread practice of continuously rehiring workers on contract instead of regularizing them after six months of continued work as mandated by law.

In Iloilo City, about 3,000 protesters are scheduled to assemble at 1 p.m. at Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.

Similar rallies are expected in Roxas City in Capiz province to be joined by 2,500; in Kalibo in Aklan province, 2,000, and in Estancia in Iloilo province, 500.

“President Duterte has failed to fulfill his pronouncements that he will end contractualization. What his administration has passed is a deceptive order that only worsens the practice,” Elmer Forro, KMU coordinator for Western Visayas, told the Inquirer.

Venues in Metro Manila

Forro was referring to the Department Order No. 174 issued last month by the Dole, supposedly to end endo.

KMU marchers will converge on Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila. The rally will be joined by members of the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap and agrarian reform beneficiaries from Tagum City, Davao del Norte province.

Members of the newly founded labor alliance Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa (Paggawa) will converge on Plaza Miranda in Quiapo at 8 a.m. before marching toward Roces Bridge. The alliance is composed of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations, National Federation of Labor Unions, Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reform Federation, and Metro East Labor Federation.

Paggawa will be joined by other groups, including Sanlakas, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang-Lungsod and Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan.

The BPO Industry Employees Network will stage a march on Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City to demand better working conditions.

Job fairs

Bello encouraged job seekers in Metro Manila to visit any of the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan job and business fairs, where 34,145 local and overseas jobs would be offered by 170 employers.

The nine sites in Metro Manila are: Quezon City—Quezon City Hall and Fisher Mall, Quezon Avenue; Manila—Bonifacio Monument, Padre Burgos Drive; Muntinlupa City—Ayala Mall; Parañaque City—City Hall; Taguig City—Vista Mall; Las Piñas City—Robinsons Mall; Valenzuela City—Astrodome; and Pasay City—city hall.

Job applicants were advised to bring their resumé or curriculum vitae (extra copies for multiple job applications); 2 x 2 ID pictures; certificate of employment for those formerly employed; diploma and/or transcript of records; and authenticated birth certificate.

The top local jobs with the biggest number of vacancies are: production machine operator—7,850; customer service representative/assistant—6,093; police officer—3,086; call center agent—2,490; office clerk—1,740; factory worker—1,520; production helper/technician—1,353; cashier—1,326; sales clerk—1,115; company driver—1,060; electronic assembler—900; technical support representative/assistant—855; service crew—572; sales and marketing assistant—460; and sales associate professional—459.

For those seeking overseas employment, the top vacancies are laborer—2,600; cleaner—1,207; service crew—1,180; electrician—1,080; professional nurse—940; production worker/factory worker—898; welder—725; waiter—724; foreman—550; waitress—522; plumber—442; assistant electrician—400; cook—394; company driver—354; and production machine operator—328. —WITH REPORTS FROM TINA G. SANTOS AND MARLON RAMOS

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