Capitalists, moderate your greed!

Capitalists, moderate your greed!

Last year’s labor day rally at Mendiola (Photo courtesy of Sunstar)

EVERY FIRST DAY OF MAY, we expect to hear this slogan reverberating all over the globe: “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

On Sunday, the eve of the observance of International Labor Day, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. exhorted Filipino workers not to lose courage, diligence, and hope as he promised that their protection will be prioritized under his administration.

To give flesh to his vow, PBBM has approved an executive order that establishes an inter-agency committee to help resolve labor-related cases in the Philippines.

Signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on 30 April 2023, EO No. 23 underscored the importance of protecting workers’ rights to form associations and organize themselves.

EO 23 noted concerns of various groups on the Philippines’ implementation of International Labor Organization Convention No. 87, “in view of reported incidents of acts of violence, extra-judicial killings, harassment, suppression of trade union rights and red-tagging allegedly perpetrated by state agents, targeting in particular, certain trade unions and workers’ organizations.”

This is really commendable.

In 2019, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) tagged the Philippines as among the top 10 worst countries in the world for working people.

I think the PBBM administration is now working out to erase that stigma.

The President noted correctly the hardships confronting Filipino workers, such as unemployment, rising prices of commodities, and having no access to government benefits.

No wonder that the workers still cry out for fair wages while many Filipinos are forced to leave their families to work abroad where they receive decent wages though prone to abuses while others migrate to other countries.

As a former union president, I believe that the minimum wage for Filipino workers should be a living wage.

What is a living wage? It is defined as a wage or salary that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living.

To put it clearly, a living wage is the amount an individual or family would need to make to avoid living in poverty.

Last February, the non-stock non-profit research organization IBON Foundation estimated that each family would need around P842 to P1,944 to provide for all expenditures and keep a standard of living above subsistence level.

Ironically, the current daily minimum wage rate per region ranges from P306 to P570 only.

If only the two houses of Congress truly care for the working class, they could have legislated a minimum daily wage of P2,000.

Wish ko lang, the Filipino capitalists will also moderate their greed for profit.

(Amado Inigo/MTVN)

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