With a “hungrier, poorer Christmas” ahead, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, together with Anakpawis Partylist, picketed the House of Representatives on the latter’s last session day for the year to reiterate calls for a significant wage hike and an end to contractualization.
Carrying Christmas-themed placards, KMU called for the immediate passage of the P125 Wage Hike Bill (House Bill 375) and the Regular Employment Bill (HB 5110), both filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, which aim to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide and end contractual employment in the country.
“Because of the government’s refusal to listen to our calls, workers will be hungrier and poorer this Christmas. It will be another ‘Paskong tuyo (dry Christmas)’ for many of us this year – only worse,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“Two of the best ways that the government can give immediate relief to workers and poor people is to approve a significant wage hike and junk contractualization. These measures will at least alleviate our suffering due to the soaring prices of basic goods and services,” he added.
KMU cited recent Social Weather Stations survey showing the intensifying hunger and poverty in the country:
à October survey: one in five households experienced having nothing to eat in the three months prior to the survey’s release à November survey: 52% of Filipino families consider themselves poor.
“If the government really wants to ease workers’ suffering, it cannot evade calls for a big enough increase in wages and for the junking of contractual employment. Heeding these calls is one of the best ways that the government can help people who work hard to get by,” Labog said.
“While the Christmas season wants to spread joy to workers, we cannot feel anything but disgust at how the government has failed to give us relief through these bills. We are outraged that the P125 Wage Hike Bill and the REB remain at the committee level,” he added.
Rep. Mariano attended the picket and expressed solidarity with the workers’ demands.
“We vow to continue calling and fighting for a significant wage hike and an end to contractualization. We will continue pushing for these bills next year,” said Labog.
“We are sure that the country’s economy will continue to deteriorate next year. A significant wage hike and the junking of contractualization will become even more urgent for workers,” he said. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson