Workers oppose employers on wages

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


MEMBERS are still haunted by several arguments on the balance of House Bill 375 despite the early victory of the different workers’ groups in Luzon after the Congress’s sub–committee on Labor and Employment approved the bill last Friday.

During the sub–committee’s public hearing held in La Trinidad, Benguet in January 18, it was revealed that President Benigno Aquino III expressed earlier his opposition to the bill.

Among the arguments the Aquino administration laid out that capitalists supported are: there will be a massive workers’ lay–off once it will be a law; the economy will be paralyzed; some employers cannot afford the wage hike; and some companies might close because of bankruptcies.

Meanwhile, officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) central and Cordillera offices who were present during the hearing also expressed their reluctance on the bill stressing proponents should also consider the balance. They insisted the committee to check carefully on the effects of the bill when turned into law to employers and employees.

Several officials of the workers’ group in the country like the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU); Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM); Pagkaka-isa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide; Hongkong Bank Independent Labor Union; Regional Wage Board of Cordillera; Saint Luis University Union of Faculty and Employees; Lepanto Employees Union; University of the Cordilleras Kapatiran Union; Baguio – Balatoc Miners Association; Federation of Free Workers; and the local government units (LGUs) of La Trinidad, Tublay, Sablan and Bokod countered the arguments saying these are just intimidation for the unions to stop asking for any wage hike.

Sammy Malu-nes, spokesperson of the KPMM, said, “We should understand that the workforce ang puhu-nan ng economiya natin.”

He explained the current economy of the country is growing which should be attributed to the hard works of the workers.

However, Malunes said it is so unfortunate that the workers don’t benefit from their hard work because of low salaries until now. The wage of the workers, he said could not even finance the food need of the family.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 23, 2013.

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