Public sector unions form alliance, demand salary increases from Marcos gov’t

Government workers groups are demanding from the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration an increase in their salaries, saying their current pay have been left way behind by current living wage estimates.

The country’s major public sector union federations met at the Senate building in Pasay City today, two days before International Labor Day, and formed a broad alliance to demand wage hikes “amid worsening economic plight due to high inflation rates.”

The public sector alliance is composed of theConfederation for Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Kawani Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (KALAKON), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa GOCCs at GFIs Inc. (KAMAGGFI) and the National Public Workers’ Congress (PUBLIK).

The groups said the Marcos Jr. administration is neglecting the welfare of low income government employees who form the backbone of public service and instead focuses on anti-Filipino schemes such as changing the 1987 Constitution.

“In the public sector, basic pay starts at P13,000 a month for national agencies, and P8,450 for Local Government Units in a sixth class municipality,” COURAGE national president Santiago Dasmariñas Jr. said.

Leaders of various public sector labor federations addressing members at the forum. (COURAGE photo)

PSLINK president Annie Enrique Geron meanwhile called on the Marcos administration to pass a new salary standardization law based on a P33,000 monthly minimum wage she said would equalize national and local government workers’ salaries.

“We hope that the Senate, which unanimously approved the (P100 daily) wake hike for private sector workers, will similarly show their support for and prioritize the passage of a new salary standardization law (SSL) for government workers as well,” said Geron.

The government’s fifth and last SSL, the measure that mandates wage increases for public sector workers, ended in 2023.

“We urge our legislators to immediately hold public hearings and deliberations on the proposed government wage hike bills and consult with the public sector union federations,” Geron said.

“We urge the Congress to use this opportunity to enact a fair salary standardization law that will alleviate the plight of thousands of our rank-and-file government employees trapped in poverty wages and address wage inequities in the public sector,” she added.

The public sector alliance said they will press for a national monthly minimum wage of P33,000 and the regularization of contractual employees in government.

They also urged the Marcos Jr. administration to cease its drive to change the Constitution, calling the move a sell-out to foreign economic interests.

The alliance held a brief rally outside the Senate building after the forum to press their demands. The rally was disrupted by Senate security guards however, demanding the employees take down their placards. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)