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EDITORIAL: The Never-Ending Wage Issue on Labor Day

May 1 was the latest Labor Day celebration. It was another time to repeat old issues - demands for wage increases and other workers’ benefits.

If we think about it there are already enough government policies addressing wage-related issues and other social benefits of workers and employees. These are legislated and are now being implemented and followed, especially by formal sector enterprises. We have workers’ paybacks such as the 13th-month bonus, subsidized social security insurance through the social security system, and the pag-IBIG program.

Such workers’ benefits are given because the government requires them through legislation. But still, in view of this workers make it appear that such benefits are given not out of the benevolence of politicians, not the government’s obligation. The companies and employers give it out of compliance with the law, not out of their volition - because the expense is deductible from their income tax returns.

Every expert study reveals that such demands that is usually followed by destructive activism, disturb industrial peace and affect economic growth. So, why does it perpetuate, and not end?

The valid assumption is that the system does not generate loyalty to the state, or a sense of belongingness of the workers to their companies. Maybe because they see that government only passes laws because of politics because people are demanding it. Bonuses or gifts do not become important because they are legislated, but because workers are part of the means of producing them. They are supposed to be given out of a common effort, or form of partnership in a given endeavor. There must be emotional attachments behind workers’ wages and bonuses in order to have meaning.

PROFIT SHARING policy or system could be a solution to the repeated issue of wage increases and workers’ benefits. It is one option for companies to improve employee morale and raise their commitment to productivity. Prosperous and socially responsible companies will want to share their success with their workers whom they consider partners in business. Profit sharing balances the interest of both the employers and the workers. It increases the motivation of both to productivity.

On record, there have been House Bills on profit sharing filed since the 16th to the 18th Congress. There is also a bill in the Senate that proposes to require that 10 percent of the profits of private companies be set aside for profit-sharing. So, what’s making profit sharing law difficult to pass? What’s the problem of balancing the interest of labor and capitalists to improve labor relations? What is the problem for employers if their workers are included in the audit of company incomes and in determining the profit of the business?

If we want to end labor unrest, we must try other means apart from traditional legislative labor relations and industrial development policies. We must try to consider the philosophy of work, and the principles of motivation to work.


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