Fix wages nationwide, labor groups tell Duterte
As the P25 minimum wage increase for Metro Manila workers took effect on Thursday, labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and affiliates belonging to a coalition called Nagkaisa urged President Duterte to form a presidential commission that would study the creation of a national wage fixing mechanism.
In a statement, FFW said the P25 wage increase, approved by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board, was “latest proof of how wages fixed under the mechanism deepens inequality rather than eradicate chronic poverty.”
It said the group and other Nagkaisa affiliates believed “the meager increase simply fits into the 1989 template” created by Republic Act No. 6727, which bases wage increases on employers’ capacity to pay rather than on workers’ standard of living.
FFW said during the presidential election campaign, Duterte recognized that setting wages by regions was a failure.
“He himself announced the need to overhaul the system,” said Sonny Matula, FFW president.
“But until today, no executive action has been done so far to walk his pledge,” Matula added.
Another labor group, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), said workers were unable to feel the impact of the P25 wage increase because of inflation.
Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson, said the purchasing power of P25 nowadays was just P17.50.
“It has no impact,” Tanjusay said.
The government, he added, should step in and fill the gap by giving workers a monthly food voucher worth at least P500.
Tanjusay said Duterte had “neither said yes nor no to our proposal.”
“So we remain hopeful,” he added.
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