Members of Katig-uban han mga Trabahador ngan Hornal-Kilusang Mayo Uno (KATRABAHO-KMU) launched a month long protest before the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment in Eastern Visayas to demand a hike in their daily wage rate.
The 64 worker-strike began on December 30 when the Leyte Home Depot management refused to give their employees their holiday benefits. After drawing the support of other Warehouses and Port Area stevedores, the initial one-warehouse strike expanded to include five additional warehouses in Tacloban City while linking with youth groups in nearby universities.
The new TRAIN law, which promises personal income tax deductions to those earning more than 200,000 PHP annually, is projected to cause an unprecedented rise in value-added tax on basic commodities this year.
For the protesting workers in Tacloban however, the skyrocketing of daily living costs is a jab against the call for a 50 cent increase in wages once approved, especially since they do not have personal income taxes in the first place.
The workers on strike flashed placards against the new TRAIN law saying it essentially cripples the purchasing power of the vast majority of workers earning less than the minimum wage.
In a statement, KMU Eastern Visayas slammed Duterte’s Tax Reform program saying it gave the workers more reason to paralyze their respective warehouses.
“The Tax Reform is rooting out underpaid workers and forcing them into the streets. In the absence of a national minimum wage law, the regression of our tax system is nothing short of a death sentence.” says KMU-EV spokesperson Paul Escalona.