CLARK FREEPORT -- As Filipino workers observe Labor Day today, Anakpawis party-list representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said the demand for the P750 National Minimum Wage has become a national people’s movement against exploitation and oppression by foreign monopoly and oligarchs in the country.
“Workers, agricultural workers, peasants, urban poor and other sectors across the country have been demanding for the P750 national minimum wage, thus, stressing its national and democratic character against plunder of labor by imperialists and its local cohort oligarchs,” the lawmaker said.
In Central Luzon, workers have been victims of the “no union, no strike” policy and contractual labor such as in Clark Special Economic Zone and the case of Hanjin workers in Subic.
“While those capitalists facing with strong workers’ unions carried out union-busting such as the case of Stronghold Steel workers in Pampanga,” he said.
He added that majority of the workers in Ilocos are contractuals, informal and earning P340 per day which is lower than the minimum wage. In the town centers, majority are semi-workers in transport, retail and other services.
“They earn less but pays as much or even more than those in Metro Manila,” he said.
In Metro Manila and Calabarzon, there was an upsurge of workers’ actions against ENDO and for P750 national minimum wage, Casilao said. “This is a breakthrough movement, when they were usually suppressed by anti-worker provisions of the Labor Code.”
The lawmaker earlier visited picketlines of workers of NutriAsia in Bulacan, UniPak in Navotas, Middleby and Monde Nissin in Laguna Jolibee in Parañaque, and PLDT in Manila.
All workers were demanding for regularization and increase in wages, he said.
In Visayas, agricultural workers belonging to the National Federation of Sugar Workers have been demanding wage increases for decades, especially when sugarworkers are usually “sakada” or whose security of tenure is totally neglected, Casilao claimed.
In Mindanao, the workers of Sumifru, dared to camp-out in Manila to press the labor department to execute the order to regularize workers, according to the partylist representative.
Amid progressive party-lists topping poll surveys, and mounting workers’ movement actions led by Kilusang Mayo Uno, the lawmaker expressed optimism on the outcome of the House Bill 7787 P750 National Minimum Wage and HB 556 Anti-Contractualization of Labor in the next congress and with the possible senatoriable seat for Makabayan candidate Neri Colmenares.
“Filipino workers are fed up of being treated as slaves and marginalized, thus, the national and democratic movement for P750 national minimum wage, will certainly transform into a social upheaval,” he said.