Workers belonging to the National Capital Region (NCR) chapter of the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) held a picket in front of the offices of the NCR wage board today to protest the P21 wage order, which the group described as a “pittance that mocks the dignity of labor”.
Loose Change is coming
Warren Bartolome, BMP-NCR vice chairperson and leader of the LBC workers union said, “It seems that the NCR wage board has a different interpretation of the so-called mandate of the Duterte administration. To them, it is ‘loose change is coming’ because Wage Order 21 of the RTWPB-NCR is a mere pittance. It is a mockery of the dignity of labor”.
Bartolome clarified, “Wages are falling due to inflation. Prices are expected to rise even more with the coming passage of the new excise taxes on petroleum products and sugar sweetened beverages. Yet, the NCR wage board could only add half a kilo of rice to workers’ wages”.
“The latest wage order is insulting for NCR workers who contribute most of the country’s economic growth,” he added. The labor leader then cited statistical data that shows that the largest share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was from Metro Manila, at 36.6 percent. “If the wage board truly wants to enhance labor productivity, it should have ordered a substantial increase that would make wages approximate the daily cost of living of P1,200 for a family of six”.
Abolish the wage boards
Meanwhile, BMP national president Leody de Guzman declared that the Wage Order 21 of the NCR wage board provides another evidence for the demand to abolish the wage boards and to thoroughly reform the country’s wage fixing mechanisms.
He said, “It has been almost three decades (28 years) since the passage of Republic Act 6727, which created the wage boards and its criteria for wage fixing. Still, the new NCR minimum wage, which is the highest in the country, is not even half of the living wage”.
De Guzman concluded, “The living wage should be the sole determinant of the minimum wage. It follows the law of value and prices, which says that prices should be determined by the cost of production. Commodities are priced at cost of production plus profit. The cost of production of labor power, which workers sell in exchange for wages, is the cost of living. Workers do not expect to profit from their labors. We work in order to provide a decent life for ourselves and our families. Worse, workers are not only wage slaves under the present capitalist system; we are more so underselling our labor-power at only half its real value. #