P13.35 too small a wage hike, employers should fight oil price hikes – KMU

MANILA — “A P13.35 wage hike won’t give workers any genuine relief amidst the rising prices of basic goods and of services, especially oil. Now that employers are admitting that skyrocketting fuel prices are hurting them, they should join us in fighting these price hikes and stop pressing down workers’ wages.”

This was the reaction of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ statement that only a P13.35 wage hike is the best that the latter can offer workers. KMU also responded to ECOP’s claim that its members are also feeling the pinch of rising oil price hikes.

“We believe employers when they complain of high energy costs in the country. This is a more level-headed admission than their hysterical claim that a significant wage hike will cause factory closures, massive retrenchment and an inflationary spiral – an economic doomsday scenario,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

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“We do not believe employers, however, when they claim that they can only give workers a meager wage hike because of increasing fuel prices in the country. Even with the oil price hikes, capitalists have earned substantial profits over the years. They should fight the increasing prices of basic goods and services and still grant workers a significant wage hike,” Labog added.

KMU also criticized ECOP for using the 400 Japanese companies in the Southern Tagalog region who are now laying off workers to illustrate the difficult situation that capitalists in the country face.

“We know for a fact that these Japanese companies are facing business troubles due to the triple whammy of tragedies in Japan and not the supposedly high wages being received by the Filipino workers. We condemn ECOP for exploiting the situation of Japanese companies to continue trying to blackmail workers into accepting the current starvation wages,” Labog said.

“The situation of Japanese companies in the country is an exception to the generally healthy situation of big capitalists. It is moreover an exception that proves the rule: it took three major tragedies in Japan to cripple Japanese capitalists, albeit temporarily. Similar tragedies did not visit other foreign capitalists,” he added. #

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