KMU-So. Mindanao calls for P750 daily minimum wage

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 May) – The Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao on Sunday aired its demands for a daily minimum wage of P750 and an end to contractualization.

The group issued the call during its rally on Labor Day at the city’s Freedom Park followed by a march at 1p.m.

In a press statement, Carlo Olalo, secretary general of KMU Southern Mindanao, said government policies such as the Wage Rationalization Law has prevented the workers from getting “meaningful wage increase”.

“We welcome the triumph of the workers in making contractualization a primary election issue this year but the relevant question really is, will any of the president bets overturn the past and present regimes’ adherence to neoliberal dictates when it comes to labor? If not, the promise of ending contractualization remains a hollow one,” he said.

He lamented that the P317 minimum wage in the region is even less than the 30 percent of the Family Living Wage valued at P1,089.

KMU also hit the P5 to P15 increase in wages by the Department of Labor and Employment. It said these are but are token benefits for the workers which “are rendered insignificant with the price increases, inflation and the people’s consistently declining purchasing power”.

He said contractualization deprives the workers of benefits and security of tenure.

“Contractual workers are also deprived of their right to unionize and demand benefits through collective bargaining, in violation of ILO (International Labour Organization) Convention 87 and 98,” he said.

Olalo cited International Labor Organization Convention 87 ensures freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, while ILO Convention 98 provides for adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination.

“Unless the government’s obstinately neoliberal economic orientation is scrapped, promises to end contractualization will not materialize,” he said.

Meanwhile, thousands of job seekers in Davao Region turned up at the Labor Day Job Fair on Sunday.

As of 3 p.m. on Sunday, DOLE 11 said 2,464 job applicants were registered in all four venues such as  SM City Ecoland, Gaisano Mall of Davao, Gaisano Mall of Tagum, and Gaisano Mall of Digos but only 1,851 job seekers qualified for interview.

1,947 job seekers applied for local employment and 517 for overseas jobs. Of this number, 766 were hired on the spot while 1,878 were subjected to further interview or asked by the employers to comply with additional requirements.

DOLE 11 assistant regional director Jason Balais said they will continue to monitor the nearly hired applicants after two weeks.

“We will continue to monitor how many of them were hired by the companies. We will know in two weeks,” he said. “The job fair is very attractive to employers who join to fill in manpower shortfall,” he added.

The labor official said the young labor force here will drive the economy up, as he noticed that many of the job seekers were fresh graduates.

Leidogay Royo, 23, a hotel and restaurant management graduate from University of Mindanao-Tagum City, was among those who were hired on the spot for overseas employment.

She said she is just awaiting for a call from her agency, CSV International Placement Inc., before she would start working in a restaurant in Kuwait anytime this month.

After completing her college degree, she said she worked as a flower arranger in Tagum but she wanted to find overseas employment to earn a bigger income.

Kristine Villaraiz, 24, another hotel and restaurant management graduate from UM Tagum, is also set to leave for Kuwait.

She resigned from her work as a food server in a restaurant in Davao City to seek greener pastures abroad. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)