Wages lose value, fail to cope with price hikes | Inquirer News

Wages lose value, fail to cope with price hikes

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 05:39 AM September 30, 2018

MONSTROSITY Workers pull along an effigy of President Duterte at a rally on Aug. 27 calling for higher pay and end to contractualization. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

A labor group on Friday said the reason workers could barely make ends meet was the real value of their wages now could only buy products at their 2017 price levels.

Based on a computation made by the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), for a worker in the National Capital Region (NCR) to recover the value of his wage that was lost due to inflation, at least P28.17 should be added to his daily wage of P512.


Not an increase


Sentro’s resident economist, Czar Joseph Rolly Castillo, noted, however, that this did not necessarily follow that they wanted only this amount to be added to the minimum wage, since such an amount could not be considered an increase.

“What it will do is only to align the current wage with the current prices,” Castillo said.

Earlier, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the NCR wage board might implement by October a P20 wage adjustment.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said this proposed “paltry” adjustment was “demeaning” to workers and “insensitive” to their plight.

Minimum wage earners are bearing the brunt of increasing prices of basic commodities, which were being blamed on a tax reform package that removed taxes from workers’ pay but imposed higher taxes on some basic goods.

CEBU PROTESTS Militant organizations send marchers to the streets of Cebu City to demand higher wages in a rally replicated nationwide on Aug. 27, National Heroes’ Day.



“If the wage board will officially announce a P20 wage hike adjustment, the workers will be very angry rather than be happy,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

Castillo said that given the high cost of commodities and the erosion of the value of the minimum wage, the proposed P20 wage adjustment was not enough for a worker to revert to the same purchasing power he had last year.

“There is a huge gap between the current level of prices and the P512 daily minimum wage, which distorts the real value of wage,” Castillo said.

“Hence, the urgent task of the government is to increase the daily wages by at least P28.17 just to recover from the inflation and later, real wage increase should be added,” Castillo said.

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Currently, labor groups have pending petitions to increase the daily minimum wage to as much as P750. But over the last few months, regional wage boards across the country gave adjustments of only P9 to P56 to supposedly help workers cope with rising costs of basic goods and services.

TAGS: ACU-TUCP, daily wage, Inflation, Minimum Wage, rising prices, SENTRO

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