PHILIPPINES:Workers march to Mendiola, slam non-wage benefits package

Friday 2 May 2014

Date: 30 April 2014

Type: News

Source: Kilusang Mayo Uno

Keywords:Labor day protest

Workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to Mendiola this afternoon to condemn the package of non-wage benefits which the Aquino government is set to unveil tomorrow, claiming the benefits will not provide relief to workers and are premised on hiking workers’ contributions to the Social Security System.

Labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz disclosed that the package, which was promised by Pres. Noynoy Aquino last Labor Day and will be presented to a dialogue with labor groups tomorrow, includes additional income and health benefits for the millions of self-employed and unpaid family workers in the country through the SSS and PhilHealth.

To show their condemnation, the workers burned an enlarged image of Aquino with the words “Kontra-Manggagawa” written across it.

“We are all for increasing the benefits being provided by the government to workers, but these benefits should come from existing funds, not from increasing members’ premium contributions,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“At the same time, what workers need right now is immediate relief from the soaring prices of basic goods and services in the form of a significant wage hike and the junking of contractual employment. A package of non-wage benefits does little in terms of providing us relief,” he added.

KMU has been protesting plans to increase premium contributions to the SSS from 10.4 per cent to 11 per cent on June or July, for which Aquino made a pitch last Labor Day.

The labor center said the increase, which will amount to a P66.50 reduction in the monthly income of a minimum wage earner in Metro Manila, is an added burden for workers already suffering from high prices.

It also said the SSS, whose asset reached P344 billion last March 2012 and whose yearly investment earnings reach more than P20 billion, can easily increase members’ benefits without increasing premium contributions.

The group also said SSS’s investments in the private sector should be disclosed fully to the public, claiming additional premium contributions may simply go to the pockets of big capitalists through the government’s Public-Private Partnership program.###

“The Aquino government is merely using dialogues with labor groups as media stunts. It continues to show insensitivity towards the plight of workers and the poor,” Labog said.

“It continues to serve big capitalists and not the country’s workers The number of workers who are angry at the regime continues to grow,” he added. Reference Person: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson Contact information: 0908-1636597

See online : Kilusang Mayo Uno

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