A workers’ alliance based in Makati City held a forum in Don Bosco Parish today, bringing together workers’ unions, legislators and Church people calling for a significant wage hike and an end to contractual employment schemes.
The Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan-Makati (KPMM-Makati) gathered about 100 attendees in a forum that discussed the wage situation and contractualization in the country.
Charlito Arevalo, president of the Gabay ng Unyon sa Telekomunikasyon ng mga Superbisor or GUTS of PLDT, and spokesperson of KPMM-Makati, wrapped up the program and called for a mobilization on Nov. 30, Andres Bonifacio Day, for a significant wage hike and an end to contractualization.
“The rising prices of basic goods and services and the intensifying hunger and poverty – all of these point to the urgent necessity of a significant wage hike. We want a wage hike that is bigger than those granted by the country’s regional wage boards, that’s why it has to be legislated,” Arevalo said.
“We are deeply bothered by the massive retrenchment in the Philippine Airlines meant to pave the way for an equally massive contractualization there. We are also deeply bothered by the Aquino government’s support for Lucio Tan on this issue, even if it’s clear that his interest is to increase his profits,” he added.
Minimum-wage earners and contractuals offered testimonials, while progressive legislators led by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, and Church people, led by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of Jaro, Iloilo, declared their support to the workers.
Mariano is the author of House Bill 375, also known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill which, if approved, will implement a P125 across-the-board wage hike across the country. Bishop Alminaza, on the other hand, is convenor of the recently-formed Church People-Workers’ Solidarity, which advocates the upholding of workers’ rights.
To symbolize their call for a significant wage hike, workers wore gloves and expressed support for boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who expressed support for the P125 Wage Hike Bill and is set for a boxing match with Juan Miguel Marquez on Nov. 13.
“We support workers’ and people’s champ Manny Pacquiao! We workers idolized him more for supporting our fight for a significant wage hike. We hope he wins against Marquez and support our fight once he returns to the country,” Arevalo said. Charlito Arevalo, KPMM Makati-Pasay Spokesperson