• Workers seek higher minimum wage

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    Fare increases at Light Rail Transit 1, LRT 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) have prompted workers and employees to call for higher minimum wage.

    Workers belonging to the broad campaign network All Workers Unity held a Metro Manila-wide walkout protest on Wednesday, calling for a higher national minimum wage of P16,000.

    In Manila, private sector workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) gathered at Plaza Miranda in Manila’s Quiapo district to mark the 82nd birthday of labor leader Crispin Beltran before marching to the Department of Labor and Employment building in Intramuros.

    “The MRT-LRT fare hikes and the water rate hike would further reduce workers’ and employees’ budget for basic needs. If the government is really concerned with the lives of workers, it should implement a National Minimum Wage hike and junk the MRT-LRT fare hikes and the water rate hike,” Elmer Labog, KMU chairman and All Workers Unity member, said.

    Public-sector workers led by the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) and the Alliance of Health Workers also held programs in front of the offices of the National Housing Authority, Sandiganbayan and National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City and of the Metro Manila Development Authority in Makati City.

    “The meager salaries given to government employees highlight the anti-people and pro-elite allocation of the national budget. The government should really subsidize the country’s mass transport systems and increase the salaries of its employees. It is lying when it claims that savings from the (train) fare hikes would go to other services,” Ferdie Gaite, national president of Courage, said.

    “The salaries of the country’s health workers were already in bad health even before the MRT-LRT fare hikes and the water rate hike. It is disgusting that instead of bringing our salaries to health, the government is doing more to hurt and kill our salaries. Health workers all over the country deserve a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P16,000 monthly,” Jossel Ebesate, chairman of the Alliance of Health Workers, a member of the All Workers’ Unity, said.

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