Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NR1109:Non-wage benefits not enough to help tide workers over

From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release November 9, 2005

Non-wage benefits are not the same as a wage hike: you can't pay for rice, meat or fish with non-age benefits –Anakpawis Solon

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran today said that
Malacanang's was trying to get itself out of the
scrape it got itself into after president of dubious
legitimacy Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo backtracked on her
call for a legislated wage increase.

“Macapagal-Arroyo and her spokesperson know full
well that the impact of completely backtracking on the
wage hike issue, so now Malacanang is saying that
instead of wage increases, it's mulling over non-wage
benefits and transportation allowances for workers.
This is a cop-out, pure and simple. Macapagal-Arroyo
has received flak from big business and employers
groups so she was pressed to swiftly backpedal and
take back her call for a wage increase. Non-wage
benefits and transportation allowances are not enough
and they're certainly not on the same level as an
across-the-board wage hike,” he said.

“The supposed tripartite dialogues between labor
groups, the Labor department and employers' groups
will nothing be but a moro-moro. They will all be for
sure. Show me a worker who will choose non-non wage
benefits instead of a wage increase and I'll show you
an elephant that flies. Unless the non-wage benefits
include 2 sacks of rice a month, stipend for
electricity and water bills , Malacanang's offer of
non-wage benefits will doubtless be mere crumbs,” he

Beltran said that non-wage benefits will not pay for
the increases in electricity rates as well as
transportation fares. “Can you pay for rice, fish,
meat and vegetables with non-wage benefits when you go
to market? You can't use non-wage benefits to pay for
medicine or health care, both of which are highly
unaffordable and beyond the reach of most workers
receiving the current minimum wage,” he said.

“The impact of the worsening economic crisis
further exacerbated by the new EVAT is so destructive
on the economic welfare of workers that not the P125
wage hike demand is even far from being enough to
help tide workers over,” he said. “Workers are not
demanding anything that's unjust or unreasonable –
they need and deserve a substantial wage increase.” #

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