MILITANT members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the office of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in Davao Region to slam what they called the inutile public hearings of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

The group reiterated their demand for an across-the-board legislated wage increase of P125.00.

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While more workers are facing gross violations of their rights -- low wages, loss of job security and the violation of their labor rights -- KMU chair Romualdo Basilio said the RTWPB again showed its true color as a lowly lapdog of capitalists.

"Last month, the RTWPB-National Capital Region issued wage order No. 15 that only granted a measly P22 hike in the basic salary rate in Metro Manila. How about in Region 12? Will workers receive P125 across-the-board wage increase or again will be given another measly P16 as what the RTWPB have given in the previous years?" Basilio said.

"Legislated wage increase is still the way to go rather than the measly wage adjustments and emergency cost of living allowances (Ecola) that the regional wage boards have been giving the workers. The P22 increase in NCR can only go as far as a half kilo of rice or two cans of sardines. The arms of poverty grip not only minimum wage earners, but also those who earn more than the minimum wage. Though we are poor, we are not

beggars, do not give us alms. Give workers what is due to them and their families," he added.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said there will be two regions that will issue their wage orders soon. The petitions range from P50-P128.60 across-the-board daily wage increase. The RTWPB finished conducting series of consultations and public hearings on the said petitions.

On Friday, the regional board of the RTWPB-XI conducted a consultation to give final decision on how much will be the wage increase for Davao Region.

Basilio said: "KMU never expected the regional wage boards to grant a substantial wage adjustment. Wage boards were put up precisely to serve the economic interests of employers and deceive the workers. While

we are demanding for the abolition of the regional wage boards, labor aristocrats and pro-government like the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) swallow hook, line and sinker the wage board trap. The wage board serves as one of the stumbling block against any legislated wage hike for workers."

"That is why we urge the Aquino administration to abolish these wage boards and heed the workers' demand for a legislated P125 nationwide wage increase," Basilio said.