Not enough, say C. Luzon workers of P16 wage hike
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A P16 increase in the daily minimum wage for workers in Central Luzon would be enforced starting May 1, Labor Day, but a labor federation in the region said it was still insufficient for their needs.
“We welcome the raise in minimum wage but it is not enough because the prices of food and basic commodities are higher in Central Luzon than in Metro Manila where the minimum wage has been fixed at P492. That’s a difference of P112,” said Emily Fajardo, spokesperson of Workers for People’s Liberation-Makabayan.
Fajardo said the decreases in prices of gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas did not reduce the prices of rice, fish, meat, milk, sugar, water and transportation fare.
“Delicious rice, which many workers opt not to let go in hard times, [still costs] P50 a kilogram,” she said, adding that the pay adjustment was only for minimum wage earners and they pushed for an across-the-board increase.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board initiated the deliberations for the new rate and wrapped up consultations and a public hearing before issuing the wage order on March 28.
The increase was announced on Thursday.
This was the third time that the minimum wage in Central Luzon was increased since November 2014.
The board said it “acknowledged the need to help workers cope with [the] rising cost of living by providing them immediate relief without impairing the viability of business and investment, competitiveness of the region and job preservation.”
The increase raised the wage in nonagricultural companies with total assets of P30 million based in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales provinces from P364 to P380; in firms with less than P30 million in assets, from P357 to P373; and plantation workers, from P334 to 350.
The increase meant an adjustment from P318 to P334 for nonplantation workers, from P353 to P369 for retail and service firms with 16 or more workers, and from P339 to P355 for firms with less than 16 workers.
In Aurora province, the rates are P329 for nonagriculture workers, P314 for plantation workers, P302 for non-plantation workers, and P264 for retail and service workers.
The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham) pushed for a P9.10 increase to cover current inflation costs.
“With the approval of P16, I am optimistic that the business community will accept the decision and will implement it accordingly,” said Jess Nicdao, PamCham president, in a text message.
“PamCham has always been cooperative in wage increases,” he added. —TONETTE OREJAS
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