Labor, transport groups holding protests this week

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 18) — Transport and workers groups have lined up several protests this week.

Here are some rallies taking place within the next few days:

Jeepney modernization program

Transport groups Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) and the "No to Jeepney Phase-out Coalition" are holding another protest against the jeepney modernization program on Monday, February 19.

Protesters will march from Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to Mendiola in Manila.

Jeepney drivers and operators have been holding protests against the program since last year. They claim it will cripple the livelihood of more than 200,000 Filipinos, who can't afford to buy new jeepneys.

READ: Transport group: Modernization program to profit from operators, drivers

The Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program aims to phase out jeepneys over 15 years old and replace these with vehicles with "low-carbon and low-emission technology". New jeepneys are estimated to cost at least P1.3 million each.

Coca-Cola layoff

Workers from beverage company Coca-Cola will hold a nationwide protest on Tuesday, February 20.

This, after the softdrinks giant announced it was firing workers due to restructuring.

At a press conference Friday, workers' unions revealed the company will be laying off 606 employees on March 2.

READ: Workers' unions: Coca-Cola claims TRAIN law behind layoff of 600 employees

Coca-Cola supposedly told workers the layoff was due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which increased tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. However, union leaders questioned this claim.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said it followed "legal rules in restructuring the company."

Protests will be held in all Coca-Cola plants nationwide. Union leaders are also planning more protests by unions from and outside Coca-Cola.

Salary increase, end to contractualization

Workers' groups will also troop to Mendiola on Wednesday, February 21, to demand a salary increase for government employees and call for an end to contractualization.

The groups want a monthly minimum wage of P16,000 pesos for government employees and a P10,000 wage hike for public school teachers and nurses.

Entry-level teachers in public schools earn P20,000, excluding allowances and bonuses. Increasing the pay of teachers was one President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promises.

On February 6, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government plans to raise teacher salaries by 2020.

READ: Roque: Teachers' salary increase to come in 2020, not 2019