By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Local labor rights group, the General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA), is calling for better working conditions, with Secretary-General Wennie Sancho saying the majority of the service sector in the sugar industry work under “deplorable and worsening economic conditions.”
He said many workers today are “underpaid, underfed, underemployed, and overworked.”
Sancho said wages need to be increased, explaining, with current wages, many are unable to pay for the rising costs of basic commodities.
“Increases in the prices of food, power, and water consumption bills continue to erode the purchasing power of the workers,” he stated. “The wage adjustment of P25 per day for Region 6 workers, including Negros Occidental, is insignificant.”
Earlier this week, Sancho expressed his concern on the price of sugar, saying, “Low prices will affect the more than five million Filipinos dependent on the sugar industry.”
He said he would like to see a rise in sugar prices, noting, “If sugar prices are high, it will assure the livelihood of sugar workers.”
Meanwhile, GAWA is also urging Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III to junk Department Order 174, claiming the order legitimizes contractualization.
GAWA is planning a Labor Day rally on Monday, May 1./WDJ