Monday, April 18, 2005

NR0411: Workers put up picketline in Congress for P125 wage hike

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release April 11, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

All worker s unite behind P125 wage hike bill; PGMA shouldn't thumb down wage demand for the 5th year running - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today called on House Speaker Jose de Venecia and Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles to make good on their promise that the House leadership will no longer put off deliberations of the P125 across-the-board wage hike bill, o HB 345. He said that the House has been working overtime to deliberate over and finally railroad the various tax measures upon the orders of Malacanang, but has done very little by way of responding to the demands of the Filipino workers for an immediate wage increase.

Beltran said that all workers and their unions regardless of political orientation or affiliation are uniting behind the P125 wage increase call. In the House, HB 345 has garnered the support of some 70 solons who have co-authored the bill which is up for second reading. "Workers are rallying behind this wage hike call in a united bid to remind Pres. Arroyo of how disgracefully she has ignored the legitimate economic demands of labor," he said.

Beltran and fellow Anakpawis solon Rafael Mariano are also batting for the passage of HB 1064 or the bill granting a P3,000 across-the-board salary hike for government employees.

Workers led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the broad worker alliances P125 Wage Hike Now, and the Solidarity for Labor Rights and Welfare (SOLAR) will be holding big demonstrations in front of Congress beginning today, April 11. According to reports, they will establish a camp out in front of the Congress gates until the House begins deliberations on HB 345.

It has been five years since the last wage hike, when former president Joseph Estrada ordered a P25.50 wage increase in 1999. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has long taken a hardline stance against wage increase, giving only a P30 emergency cost-of-living allowance in 2001, of which less than 20% of the country's workers were able to receive as the ECOLA implementing rules and regulations virtually exempted majority of minimum wage earners.

"This administration has allowed the oil companies, Meralco and the water companies to increase their prices and rates on the one hand, but on the other it has issued steady refusals to the demands of workers for a much needed wage increase and of government employees for a P3,000 salary hike. It's an understatement to state that Filipinos are finding it hard to cope with the continually rising costs of living; but Pres. Arroyo won't even throw a lifeline," he said.

Beltran chided President Arroyo for keeping her ears closed and her heart hardened against workers. "She always has time to listen to the demands and counter wage hike arguments of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP); "But she never give workers the time of day. In a few weeks, it will be International Labor Day. What will GMA tell workers - that for the 5th year running, she will be thumbing their clamor for a much needed wage increase?"#


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