Disparity between daily wage and cost of living: “heaven and earth”

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KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/29 April) – “Heaven and earth.”

Adelaida Segumpan, Kilusang Mayong Uno (KMU) regional spokesperson said the disparity between the daily minimum wage rate and the estimated cost of living level in the area is now “heaven and earth” and they will push for a substantial wage hike and the abolition of the regional wage board during their Labor Day indignation rally on Tuesday.

“What the workers need now is a substantial wage increase in order for us to cope with the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products, basic commodities and services,” Segumpan said.

She described the recently approved P10 to P14 daily wage increase in the region “as a meager amount meant to pacify workers’ wrath against the callousness of the Aquino administration.”

Over the weekend, some 100 militant members stormed the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) here where they staged a noise barrage in preparation for May

Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, pushed for the granting of a legislated P125 across-the-board daily increase to improve the plight of workers.

Lariba said they are calling for the abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board because “it has turned out to be the instrument of big capitalists in collusion with the Aquino government in pressing down the already meager minimum wage of the workers.”

“The wage board (has) become the mouthpiece of big businesses. It is consistently harping on that a P125 legislated wage hike will result to the shutting down of companies and retrenchment of thousands of workers to justify the meager wage hike of P10 to P14 in the region,” he said.

He noted the wage board has failed to implement a substantial wage increase for workers in the region.

Region 12 consists of the provinces of South Cotabato,North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

As part of the nationwide action on Labor Day, militant groups have set rallies here and in nearby General Santos City on Tuesday.

Chona Mantilla, DOLE-12 regional director, said they will mark Labor Day with a “wage clinic” in this city to discuss with stakeholders Wage Order 17, which took effect last April 18.

She said the RTWPB-12, which she chairs, will explain how they reached the decision for the wage increase as well as other concerns such as the compliance or exception to the order.

The wage order integrated the P15 daily cost of living allowance mandated in Wage Order RBXII-16 into the basic salary and orders a new COLA ranging from P10 to P14 per day.

Under the new wage order, which will be implemented in two tranches, the daily minimum wage  will range from P246 to P270.

The first tranche was implemented last April 18 and the second on December 1, 2012. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)

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