The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) or Center of United and Progressive Workers, a national labor center in the Philippines composed of workers in the private, public, informal and migrant sectors, conveys its steadfast support for your mass actions today demanding for the long overdue living wage of the vast majority of the working people in the United Kingdom.
In fact, this call is more than ever relevant throughout the world as neoliberalism further stretches its repugnant tentacles, wreaking havoc on us, the workers – busting our unions, stifling our rights, ruining our job security, depleting our benefits, force-feeding us with cheap, starvation wages.
Sentro is one with your march that aims to make the workers – and not merely the filthy rich and employers – to enjoy the supposed gains in your national economy; hence, higher salaries and added perks, stable employment, a really functioning national minimum wage law that protects workers from extremely low pays, curbing excessive profits and other predatory capitalist practices, end to “poverty wages,” among others.
Sentro and the Filipino workers could easily relate to your problems and your struggle – Philippine workers are actually one of the lowest paid among the so-called developing nations, a notoriety which remains despite the much ballyhooed economic “growth” of the country in the past four years. In particular, the minimum wage system here has routinely been violated; it has become the ceiling wage instead of the floor wage for most workers, consigning them to a ceaseless subsistence life. It is now even being adjusted to be pegged to poverty levels, thereby perpetuating pathetic wages for the working poor. This is amid the explicit provision in the Philippine Constitution declaring that workers are “entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage.”
Fighting for a genuine living wage should therefore be one of the primary and continuing advocacies of trade unionists and social activists in the UK and the Philippines – and elsewhere. In particular, opposing contractualization and cheap labor policies must go hand in hand as pursuing secure jobs and a living wage are both pressing issues and not incompatible.
Living wage, not poverty wage!
Reduce profits, increase workers’ wages and benefits!
Fight for a living wage and secure jobs!
Long live the labor movement!
Quezon City, Philippines