“Faced with workers’ continuing clamor for a significant wage hike, the Department of Trade and Industry is resorting to the age-old tactic of blackmailing workers with threats of massive layoffs.”
This was the reaction of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno to DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo’s statement that the Aquino government is opposed to the P125 Wage Hike Bill in the House of Representatives because the latter will supposedly make the country unattractive to investors and cause massive layoffs.
Domingo was referring to House Bill 375 filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.
“The DTI had to make the statement because it knows that the Filipino workers and people are still clamoring that the government approve a significant wage hike, amidst the rising prices of basic goods and services, especially oil. It’s so-called basis, however, is as discredited as it is old,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“It is not labor cost that is eating up the biggest chunk of capitalists’ cost of production, but high energy cost – the highest in Asia. Domingo is trying to deceive workers in exaggerating the possible impact of a substantial wage hike, while keeping silent on energy cost which is afflicting investors, especially small Filipino businesses,” he added.
“Why can’t he speak on high electricity and fuel costs instead? So as not to antagonize big foreign and local capitalists in those fields – President Aquino’s real bosses?” Soluta asked.
KMU cited a research released by Ibon Foundation that a P125 across-the-board wage hike will only mean a 15% reduction in capitalists’ profits, proving that such a hike should not cause massive retrenchment of workers.
“The problem is that capitalists are unwilling to allow even a minimal reduction in their profits despite the intense poverty and hunger being suffered by workers. The DTI is serving as capitalists’ spokesperson in echoing the latter’s threat of massive retrenchment to workers,” Soluta said.
“The truth is that capitalists have steadily amassed greater profits through the years while workers’ wages have been kept at the barest minimum. This the workers know, that is why threats of massive layoffs will not deter us from fighting for a significant wage hike in the form of the P125 Wage Hike Bill,” he added.
“We plan to intensify our fight for a significant wage hike in the coming months,” he said. Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary General