PUBLIC school teachers under the banner of Alliance of Concerned Teachers on Friday joined Labor Day protests to call for a national minimum wage of P16,000 for both public and private sector workers.
“The current minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), which is the highest in the entire country, only gives the workers around P11,000 a month for 24 days of work per month. This amount is less than half of the more than P31,000 monthly cost of living in the country. Even the P16,000 national minimum wage is still below the cost of living but this will be of much help to the workers,” France Castro, the group’s secretary-general, said.
Late last year, labor organizations formed the All Workers Unity and forged a united call for a national minimum wage of P16,000 for workers, P25,000 for teachers and nurses and P50,000 for doctors.
“Based on a study of Ibon Foundation, the proposed national minimum wage will only cut around 17 percent from the profit of private companies, which only shows that the proposal is doable. For this to progress, our businessmen need only to lessen their greed. On the other hand, the government must also side with the workers and employees and heed their call for a living wage,” Castro said.
Ibon Foundation is a local think tank.
The pay scheme at present sees the country’s working class living below the poverty level, Castro said.
The government must show care for the workers, for without them, the businessmen cannot accumulate profit, she added.
“Part for our call for the national minimum wage is the legislation of the P25,000 entry pay for public school teachers. Our teachers are one of the lowest paid professionals in the country and are one of the lowest paid teachers throughout Asia.,” according to Castro.
The low pay, she said, has resulted in the migration of teachers abroad for better pay.
Here, “teachers are pushed to do multiple of jobs in order for them to make both ends meet. In order for us to send our children to school, we still have to apply for a loan to pay their tuition and other school fees,” Castro added.
The teachers’ call for a pay increase, she said, must be addressed immediately by the government.