The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)-Nagkaisa will join other groups in holding mass actions against the impending fare hike in the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and Light Rail Transit to pressure the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to defer the fare adjustment which it described as “anti-people and oppressive.”
Alan Tanjusay, TUCP-Nagkaisa spokesperson, said they are set to join a big labor group coalition in holding protest actions in MRT and LRT stations starting today until Monday.
Last month, the DOTC said it will increase rates for the two rail lines effective January 4, 2015. With the new fare scheme, rates for end-to-end trips on the MRT-3 will increase to P28 from P15 (from North Avenue to Taft Avenue and vice versa); P30 from P20 for LRT-1 (from Baclaran to Roosevelt and vice versa); and P25 from P15 on LRT-2 (from Recto to Santolan and vice versa).
Tanjusay said minimum wage earners will be the hardest hit by the fare increase.
He explained that the P466 daily wage rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) is already affected by inflation and by the mandatory salary deductions, thus, workers’ take home pay is only P362.
“With no wage hike in sight and no immediate measure for the government to cushion the impact, minimum wage earners will be hit hard by the fare adjustment,” Tanjusay noted.
He lamented that the government failed to consider the plight of minimum wage earners when it decided to increase rail rates.
With the MRT 3 and LRT fare increase, Tanjusay said “the working poor [will]remain poor.”
“In fact, not a soul from labor groups such as the TUCP-Nagkaisa and other large workers’ representative organizations were invited in a public consultation for the planned increase if there were any. But a big chunk of their take home pay will be taken away from them by Secretary Abaya without their consent and approval. So this fare increase is an open robbery of workers, anti-people and very oppressive,” he added.
Citing the Government Family Income and Expenditures Survey in 2009, the TUCP official said data showed that a family of six needs at least P1,200 a day in order to survive.