Labor group seeks P710 pay hike
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s largest labor organization is seeking a P710 across-the-board daily wage increase for workers in the private sector, saying the current daily minimum pay does not afford them and their families to live in dignity.
Just two days before Labor Day when Malacañang traditionally announces benefits for workers, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) will file on Monday a petition for the pay increase with the regional wage board in Metro Manila.
In a statement, TUCP said ordinary workers in the metropolis should be receiving a minimum of P1,247 salary in order for them and their families to live decent lives.
“The current P537 wage for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila is highly insufficient in light of rising costs of food and services caused by taxes and inadequate government services and social protection assistance to poor Filipinos,” it said.
The group’s spokesperson, Alan Tanjusay, noted that the government considered a family of five “out of poverty” if it was earning a total income of P10,481 a month.
But Tanjusay said TUCP would urge the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board to factor in recent developments, such as increases in prices of food and other basic goods in setting “realistic wages.”
In its petition, TUCP said P25—the last wage increase for workers in Metro Manila that took effect in November last year—was no longer sufficient.
“The P25 increase has long been dissipated by the high costs of basic goods and services, even before it could be felt by minimum wage earners, due to a host of factors, particularly the effect of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion [Act] since Jan. 1, 2018,” the labor group said.
Based on government figures, TUCP said, the real value of the current daily minimum wage of P537 in Metro Manila is P457.41.
“The existing minimum wage of P537 in the [metropolis] sorely meets basic human needs for food, water, clothing, education, transport, health, housing, toiletries and electricity,” TUCP said.
It added that the amount could buy workers and their families only nutritionally deficient survival meals.
Other basic needs
“That not discounting other basic needs, the race to cope with increasing cost of living but reiterating the need to give meaning and substance to the country’s policy of inclusive development and shared prosperity, TUCP is simply considering government-prescribed daily nutritional needs of a family of five in its petition for wage increase,” the group said.
A token wage adjustment will just demean and further insult workers, according to TUCP.
“The worker is a critical partner in building the wealth of our nation. The country enjoyed a 6.7 percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate in 2017 and 6.2 percent in 2018.
“[Metro Manila] has been the consistent biggest contributor to the GDP, breaching 38 percent beginning 2016. Workers deserve better. They deserve justice now,” the group said. —Tina G. Santos
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