Labor group seeks P334 hike in daily basic pay in Metro Manila
Citing high inflation, a labor group is demanding a P334 increase in the daily minimum wage for workers in Metro Manila in an amended petition it plans to file on Monday.
The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said on Saturday that the wage increase, adjusted from P320, would enable the workers to cope with the third-quarter inflation of 6.2 percent.
“Prices of food and costs of services continued to rise since June. So we are crunching the numbers to faithfully reflect the needs of workers and their families to cope with current 6.2 percent inflation rate,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.
The group filed a petition in June, demanding a basic pay increase based on the first quarter inflation rate of 5.2 percent.
First public hearing
On Monday, the Regional Tripartite Productivity and Wages Board for Metro Manila will hold the first of its three sectoral consultations and public hearing to determine how much the increase would be.
The daily minimum wage in Metro Manila is currently pegged at P512, the highest in the country.
Purchasing power, however, fell to P340 in September, when inflation soared to a nine-year high of 6.7 percent, according to ALU-TUCP.
If the labor group’s petition is approved, the minimum wage in the metropolis will reach P846.
Tanjusay urged employers to view the wage adjustment as an investment rather than as an expense. “Employer groups have been saying that a substantial wage increase may be inflationary with businesses passing on the wage increase in the prices of their goods and services,” he said.
The ALU-TUCP urged businesses and employers not to transfer the inflation burden to consumers but rather invest in workers by raising their wages.
“Only a portion of their profits shall be affected by the wage increase,” Tanjusay said.
Earlier, research group Ibon Foundation said a pay increase of at least P238 would help the country’s poorest 14 million households, which already lost at most P4,725 in purchasing power in the first nine months of the year due to inflation.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Ibon said companies in Metro Manila had “more than enough profits” for the wage adjustment.
14 percent of 2015 profit
The increase is estimated to cost firms a total of P132 billion, or 14 percent of their combined 2015 profit of P903 billion.
Those in Metro Manila could pay the P750 minimum wage “and not have to pass this on to consumers as higher prices if they accept a slight cut in their profits,” Ibon said.
“In these times of economic crisis, it is urgent to ensure the poorest working class Filipinos do not suffer needlessly,” it said. —JOVIC YEE
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