“There can be no genuine economic growth when workers and Filipinos suffer from low wages, high prices and widespread unemployment.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Citing results of the recent Pulse Asia survey, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) reiterated today the urgent need for the government to at last listen to the workers’ demands: hike wages, implement a national minimum wage, and ban contractualization. The latter, they said, has further pressed down workers’ wages.
A Pulse Asia survey conducted from May 30 to June 5 showed that Filipinos continue to be most concerned about two economic issues—increasing workers’ pay (47 percent) and controlling inflation (46 percent). For the public, the next urgent issues are fighting graft and corruption in government (39 percent), and creating more jobs (37 percent).
The survey results reveal an estimate of the Filipino’ views of the Aquino administration’s actual achievements, given that it frequently cites its so-called “tuwid na daan” (righteous path), inclusive growth and good governance. In hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation this year, it is also being presented like “a poster boy” of the economic grouping’s unity for globalization policies.
But in Pulse Asia’s survey report, the Aquino administration got negative grades in improving or increasing the pay of workers; in reducing poverty among Filipinos; and in controlling inflation.
Jerome Adonis, secretary general of KMU, describes it as “another proof the ‘inclusive growth’ being bragged about by the Aquino government is a lie.” He said there can be no genuine economic growth when workers and Filipinos suffer from low wages, high prices and widespread unemployment.
Even before the Aquino administration, the KMU has been campaigning for a legislated and across-the-board P125 minimum wage hike for the private sector. But their campaign has been met by refusal from employers’ groups, followed by what most labor groups decry as very meager, insulting wage hike orders from regional wage boards.
The real value of the average daily basic pay of millions of Filipino workers nationwide increased only less than P9 or 3.5 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to non-government thinktank Ibon Foundation. It also said that while net incomes of the largest corporations increased manifold, the increase in average daily basic pay for all industries was only 8.8 percent.
“The Pulse Asia survey, which came out days before the World Day for Decent Work or WDDW, shows that Filipinos want decent jobs where they receive living wages and enjoy security of tenure, as well as other trade-union rights,” Adonis said.