Non-wage benefits form Labor Day Demands of TUCP

First came the wage petitions, now come the non-wage demands.

After asking for a P75 across-the-board wage increase in Metro Manila, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and its party-list arm the Trade Union Congress Party have now outlined a 10-point package consisting mostly of non-wage demands such as healthcare, low-cost housing and tax exemptions to be asked from the government this Labor Day.

“Our wage petitions before the regional wage boards in Metro Manila and other parts of the country are aimed at recovering the lost purchasing power of workers. Parallel efforts in improving the non-wage benefits of workers are necessary to allow them to live decently,” TUCP spokesperson Alex Aguilar said.

Among the demands in the TUCP’s 10-point Labor Manifesto to be presented to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a proposal for exemptions from withholding tax of employees earning P20,000 and below a month.

“Our government should stop depending on workers to shore up the country’s fiscal position. Efforts must be made to plug hemorrhages in the tax collection system. Addressing these leaks would be more than enough to make up for the taxes of workers earning P20,000 and below,” the TUCP said.

Another non-wage demand of the TUCP is for the Government to allocate more funds for mass housing. The TUCP will also call on the President to appropriate idle public lands for mass housing, particularly public lands within export processing zones.

“Close to 70 percent of Filipinos have no houses of their own and this includes majority of workers in the country. Allocating idle government lands within and around export processing zones where a huge chunk of workers are located would radically bring down the cost of mass housing and make them more affordable to our workers,” The TUCP explained.

The TUCP also pushed for a universal insurance program that would attend to the basic medical expenses and services required by many workers, whose salaries do not have lee-way for medical emergencies.

It also called for the expansion of the government program offering subsidized medicine through the establishment of more outlets, especially in industrial centers. The TUCP, likewise, pushed for a comprehensive family and reproductive health care program that gives families the full range of options for population management.

Among the other demands of the TUCP include, food security, expanded technical education for workers, full employment, protection for women and children, political reforms and protection of migrant workers.

“These range of benefits and reforms are imperative in improving the plight of workers. The labor struggle has been ongoing for more than a century. There is no time to enact meaningful reforms than the present,” the TUCP said.

The TUCP party-list, on the other hand, vowed to work for legislation revolving around these labor demands upon the assumption of Congress.

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