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Cebu groups call for wage increase on Labor Day

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 01,2024 - 03:07 PM

labor day rally in cebu city

Riza Layahin, a Cebuano activist, says that for a better life ahead, the government must implement a wage increase for workers. | CDN Digital / Pia Piquero

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Holding big red flags and banners, demonstrators coming from various labor groups and people’s organizations in Cebu gathered as one unified group on Wednesday, May 1, to deliver a collective plea for laborers – a wage increase.

The demonstrators gathered in downtown Cebu City at around 7:30 a.m. and walked to Fuente Osmeña Circle as they chanted,”Dugang sweldo i-balaod, sana all 150!”

During the protest that lasted for at least four hours, they resonated with conviction the demand of workers for a substantial wage hike to cope with rising living costs.

In addition, they also appealed for improved working conditions.

“Ang minimum wage karon sa Cebu is 465 pesos. Sa akoa lang, dili gyud siya sakto nga makabuhi sa akong pamilya. Dili gyud siya kaigo kay og imo kwentahon. Plete palang nako pa trabaho kada adlaw, mukaon pa ko, lisod gyud kaayo,” said Jaime Espra, 48.

READ: Labor group asks employers to grant wage hike

Wage increase

Espra, a seasoned furniture sample maker and father of three, said that despite his experience and after having worked in their company for 24 years, he is yet to see an increase in his pay or even an acknowledgment for his seniority in the job.

He expressed hope that his plea for a wage increase will soon be heard because he needed the additional cash to support the college education of his children.

One time, when he and some colleges reached out to their management to request for a pay increase based on seniority, they were merely told that their company was in compliance with the minimum wage set by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

READ: Long overdue, labor groups say of pay hike

“Kung imo tan awon ang makabuhi gyud nga suhulan is 1,200 pesos per day para gyud maka supporta gyud og tarong. Kanang 465 pesos, dili gyud siya enough. Mao ni nga amo gyud giduso ang wage increase aron matagaan gyud ni og pagtagad nga kinahanglan gyud nis mga trabahador,” Espra said.

Labor Day rally

Naohdi Vyson, 52, a food delivery worker for five years and a father of six, shared the sentiments of Espra.

In addition to advocating for wage increase, Vyson said he joined the Labor Day rally as a payback for the to support that he and his colleagues received labors when they decided to file a complaint against their employers at DOLE.

READ: Labor Day special: Laborers going beyond their roles

“Kami karon mga drivers, naa mi diri karon kay gisuportahan mi ani nila sa pag file namo og kaso sauna sa DOLE during tong naa miy problema sa management. Karon kami napod mo supporta nila,” Vyson said.

Meanwhile, Jane Abalo, 62, an employee of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor in Lapu-Lapu City, joined the Labor Day rally to echo the call for wage hike.

Meager income

As a housewife and worker, Abalo said she knows what it feels like to be getting very meager income.  She said that the honorarium that she was getting from DWUP was insufficient to support their needs.

If wages are increased, Abalo said this will allow wives like her to better manage their household expenses, especially since her children are already in school.

“Importante gyud kaayo siya namo kay lisod kaayo mamalit ron mga kinahanglanon sa balay og sa eskwelahan. Dili sakto among kwarta,” she said.

The Labor Day rally on Wednesday was participated by members of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), Partido Manggagawa (PM), and Sugbuanong Mamumuo Nagkahiusa Alang sa Living Wage, also known as SANA ALL.

Here are more photos from the Labor Day rally:

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TAGS: Labor Day, rally, wage increase

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