Just calls for living wages, rights and secure jobs

May 3, 2023

The Council for People’s Development and Governance holds in high esteem the valiant Filipino workers who relentlessly advance the calls and campaigns for decent and sustainable livelihoods throughout the country.

On May 1, 2023, various multisectoral groups joined workers in commemorating International Labor Day in the Philippines. The groups have united to call on the government to increase wages to a living wage, safeguard the rights and dignity of workers, and put an end to impunity. 

Think tank IBON Foundation revealed that the prevailing average national wage of Php8,902.00 is less than the Php12,030.00 poverty threshold. But to live decently and with dignity, a working family with five members should at least earn Php14,885.00 said IBON.

The unrealistic poverty threshold hides the dire situation of the Filipino workers and leaves behind millions of poor Filipinos which are not considered poor simply because they are within the poverty threshold determined by the government.

To end poverty the government should start with being grounded on the realities of poverty in the country. It can start by reviewing its poverty methodology. Likewise, review its method of counting the unemployed.

It should also listen to the call of its people and consider their policy recommendations to genuinely address poverty and achieve people-centered development.

The CPDG endorses the comprehensive 15-point labor agenda presented by both workers groups and individual laborers to the International Labor Organization-High Level Tripartite Mission in January 2023. Given the severe economic crisis currently faced by our nation’s labor force, the Marcos Jr. administration must give serious consideration to this agenda:

  • Fully realize freedom of association and workers right to security of tenure and end all forms of contractualization of labor and non-standard employment;
  • Strengthen and expand collective bargaining;
  • Strengthen wage policies, especially for the low wage sectors;
  • Implement universal and adequate social security and contributory and non contributory social protection for all;
  • Ensure quality public services (health, education, housing, water, power/energy, transportation);
  • Protect and support enterprises and workers in the informal sector;
  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and the LGBTQI+ community in the workforce;
  • Adopt and implement a resilient, equitable and sustainable development path for communities by integrating climate change and peace and resilience measures into national policies, strategies, and mechanisms;
  • Protect the rights and ensure the wellbeing of overseas Filipino workers including undocumented workers;
  • Adopt and implement a sustainable industrial policy that combines economic upgrading and social upgrading;
  • Tax wealth of the super-rich to fund universal social protection and economic recovery;
  • Strengthen and deepen social dialogue;
  • Adopt policies and measures aimed at protecting workers in the digital economy and those that perform work remotely using digital tools and platforms;
  • Agenda for the future of work, workers, and workers’ power; and
  • Assert the Philippines’ sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and ensure the demilitarization in the area.

Network and members of CPDG also stood up in solidarity with workers in the “struggle for fair, just, and livable wages, and the call for government action to lower prices of basic commodities.” The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, particularly highlighted that the “economic and labor rights are as much press freedom issues as the continued attempts to harass and silence media workers. 

Meanwhile, Kalikasan pointed out that the fight for the rights of workers, includes the fight for a sustainable and healthy environment. 

The Council for Health and Development, through a statement released by Chestcore Cordillera manifested the continuing fight for a livable wage through the 33K entry salary for all the health workers. 

Unyon ng Manggagawang Akgrikultural (UMA) stressed the importance of unionizing “in asserting for living wages and humane conditions of work.” “But state-sponsored attacks on the  freedom of association posed a fatal obstacle to organizing, let alone arriving at collective bargaining agreements,” the group said. 

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the various trade union centers and labor federations united in solidarity as the All Philippine Trade Unions (APTU) also “urged the government to speed up actions on the petitions for wage increases now pending before the regional wage boards and in Congress.” 

The workers’ groups maintain their position that for the existing as well as for new jobs to be protected, labor contractualization must be addressed decisively by enacting the Security of Tenure (SOT) and Public Sector Labor Relations bills for both the private and public sector workers. The chronic problem of “endo” impairs the workers’ free exercise of both their right to security of tenure and freedom of association.#eof#

#LaborDay2023 #SahodItaas #dignityofwork #MayoUno2023 #DefendLaborRights


IBON Foundation. 2023, April. PH minimum wages are family poverty wages. Retrieved from https://www.ibon.org/ph-minimum-wages-are-family-poverty-wages-ibon/

IBON Foundation. 2019, December. Govt methodology underestimates number of poor Filipinos. Retrieved from https://www.ibon.org/govt-methodology-underestimates-number-of-poor-filipinos-ibon/

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. 2023, May. Solidarity on Labor Day: Media Workers are Workers Too. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/nujphil/photos/a.10151325930050374/10167493172760374/?type=3

Kalikasan. 2023, May. Sahod Itaas, Presyo Ibaba! Hustisyang Panlipunan, Hustisyang Pangkalikasan. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/100064926364768/posts/pfbid0tY7eJ7W11ceXGc8Dv2sGgZhxQv5rjukUW6F97R3Y6KPGhvP3dfHCHRdEzYxqVJ4gl/

Chestcore Cordillera. 2023, May. Sahod Itaas, Presyo Ibaba. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/100064859433701/posts/pfbid0tQaat8RYxPXCMaewGYSP6jfMXazUTsTXq1FT6iWfv74Jt2xwCXLLfoUBjPSf4ojfl/

Unyon ng Manggagawang Agrikultural. 2023, May. Hindi Nagbabanat ng Buto, Kaya Walang Malasakit sa Nagbabanat ng Buto: Agri-Workers Score Marcos on his First Labor Day. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/100064743673321/posts/pfbid02QCHSHZyFbqo4LJEniEH5RJ1RAsrYypfjWoXZCkrmzHr25KTqFjrQBcfXGp8Bj7wvl/

Kilusang Mayo Uno. 2023, May. Joint Statement: All Philippine Trade Unions. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/1604844059789852/posts/pfbid02FZLXMw13AnD2qhQQqWVCnr241NU2SvNBmGVgu8bDsxsYCbJSgYV9fSoTNix4GcsDl/