Labor expectation in Sona: Hope
A moderate federation of labor unions said it was expecting President Rodrigo Duterte to reveal plans to stem the rising prices of good and services, end labor-only contracting and raise workers’ wages in his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) on Saturday said Mr. Duterte’s Sona should at least give workers and their families hope for “real-life economic relief.”
“Workers can no longer afford to feed their families and are faced with the continuing erosion of wages even as prices of basic goods and services continue to surge,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.
According to the group, the average daily wage of workers nationwide is only P330.47 but due to inflation, its real value was just P208.38 as of April.
This was way below the National Economic and Development Authority’s estimated daily expense for a family of five to live a decent life—P1,400.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Saturday that since August 2016, government efforts had resulted in more than 321,000 employees being regularized.
He said the government aimed to have up to 300,000 workers regularized this year.
But ALU-TUCP said labor-only contracting remained rampant as workers were regularized by manpower agencies, not by principal employers.
“This only proves that short-term contractualization of jobs remains widely practiced,” Tanjusay said.
In the public sector, the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) scored the Duterte administration’s “one-sided priority” of raising wages for military and police while neglecting those for civilian employees.
According to research done by Ibon Foundation, public sector workers get a minimum wage of P10,510 monthly but employees of sixth-class municipalities get only 65 percent of the salary of their counterparts in national government agencies.
Ferdinand Gaite, Courage national president, said that if Mr. Duterte could increase police and military salaries, he should do the same for civilian employees.
In January, the entry-level base pay of police, soldiers and other uniformed personnel increased from P14,834 to P29,668.
Gaite said government workers should get a national minimum wage of P16,000 monthly “to cope with inflation.”
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