Monday, April 30, 2007

Labor Day 2007: GMA rolling stores poor alternative to announcement of a substantial and across-the-board wage increase

Monday April 30, 2007

Labor Day 2007: GMA rolling stores poor alternative to announcement of a substantial and across-the-board wage increase

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today anticipated Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Labor Day message and said that the president should not even begin to say that workers' economic woes have lessened in the last year. He said that the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) move to send out GMA rolling stores tomorrow to sell workers and the families basic commodities at cheap prices does not, by far, compensate for the Arroyo government's failure to implement a substantial and across-the-board wage increase for private sector workers.

"Workers will not be forgetting Pres. Arroyo's call to veto the bill legislating a P125 across-the-board wage increase. Workers have not received a genuine wage increase in six years, and even those increases were not across-the-board and many companies did not implement it," he said. The last wage increase was granted by former Pres. Joseph Estrada at P25.50.

Beltran also said that the imposition of the expanded value-added tax that raised the taxes on basic commodities and services by as much as 12 percent also severely cut into the budgets of workers' families and their already meager wages. He said that workers have not tasted the supposed benefits of the EVAT, but their wages have already been many times over cut down in real value because of the depreciation in the peso's exchange value.

"Because of various regressive taxation schemes imposed by the government, workers' take-home pay has been severely reduced. High electricity rates also take a large of their wages – so much for Pres.Arroyo's promise of lower utility costs," he said.

"Workers are forced to continue making sacrifices in the name of the Arroyo administration's fiscal programs, but they receive nothing in return. Wages continue to depreciate because of regressive taxation on goods and services. Workers' job security is also under attack because of the continued trend towards contractualization and other forms of labor flexibility. Workers are also the victims of the government's campaign of extra-judicial killings targeting the progressive party-lists as workers along with farmers and urban comprise the bulk of the party-lists' members and officials, " he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator that primary in Anakpawis Party-List's legislative agenda is raising workers' wages as well as the salaries of rank and file government employees. He said that in Anakpawis' miting de avance tomorrow, May 1 International Labor Day, Anakpawis will announce it's continued commitment to raising workers' wages through legislation and not through the Regional Wages and Productivity Boards.

"The Macapagal-Arroyo government's focus when it comes to labor is to send as many Filipinos abroad as OFWs. This is not genuine job creation. Employment continues to drop while more and more of the country's new graduates are forced to leave the country to find employment as low-skilled workers."

"We hope that Pres. Arroyo will not be patting herself on the back for her supposed achievements in improving the lives and welfare of Filipino workers. There is love lost between the Arroyo administration and labor as workers in the militant labor movement stand against the administration's anti-labor policies which in turn spoil and pamper big business and foreign investors," he said. #


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