Workers to Duterte: Back wage hike | Inquirer News
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Workers to Duterte: Back wage hike

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 07:24 AM October 23, 2018

A labor group urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday to support its call to raise the daily minimum wage by P334 for workers in Metro Manila, saying the amount would only allow them and their families to survive.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) made the appeal as it expressed doubts that the regional wage board would approve a significant pay adjustment at the start of its consultation meetings on its petition.

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“We fear that what we encountered [on Monday] are wage board members who don’t want to take real responsibility and make the hard decisions for fairness and decency,” said Louie Corral, ALU-TUCP vice president.

“These are times of economic hardship and difficulty for workers in a supposedly growing economy,” Corral stressed.

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He said that based on the discussions during Monday’s meeting, the board appeared to be “just being polite, perfunctory and routinary, and just wanted to get it over with.”

‘Unfair’

Ana Dione, chair of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board, described the remark as “unfair.”

Dione noted that the labor groups knew that any proposal for wage increase must go through a process before the board makes a decision.

She did not answer ALU-TUCP’s query about the amount of pay increase, pointing out that she did not want to preempt any board action.

ALU-TUCP is seeking a P334 wage increase after it revised the P320 figure in the petition it filed in June.

The new amount, it said, would allow the workers to recover their purchasing power that was lost after inflation reached 6.2 percent in the third quarter of this year.

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According to data from the National Wages and Productivity Commission, the value of the current P512 daily minimum wage of workers in Metro Manila dropped to P450 in March. It was further eroded to P440 in August.

Survival pay

“That is why the wage increase should not be lower than P334,” said Vince Camilon of TUCP.

Camilon said this was not an unreasonable demand because the amount was just enough for the workers’ survival.

Over the last few months, wage boards across the country had granted pay increases ranging from P9 to P56.

If the wage board in Metro Manila followed this pattern, Corral said the Duterte administration could suffer a “political backlash,” especially in next year’s midterm elections.

On Wednesday, it will be the turn of employers’ groups to present their case to the wage board.

Depending on the results of the discussions, the board may come out with a decision as early as Friday.

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TAGS: ALU-TUCP, Louie Corral, Metro Manila minimum wage hike, Rodrigo Duterte
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