Don’t close doors on second wage hike — Villanueva
MANILA, Philippines — “We should not immediately close our doors on the possibility of having a second wage increase in less than a year.”
Senator Joel Villanueva said this on Tuesday after Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said that another wage hike within a year would have to be justified by a supervening condition.
This is in light of a petition filed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) seeking a P710 across-the-board wage hike for Metro Manila workers.
Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, said the petition should be studied well and evaluated by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).
He noted that the petition cited an issue of the prevalence of malnutrition which, he said, was a “valid concern.”
“Government must look into the supervening conditions to justify whether there is a need for another increase. Examining this issue in our current social and economic context is also necessary,” he told reporters in a text message.
The senator cited a study in 2015 which showed that the country’s stunting rate was at 33 percent, which he said, is “very relevant to wages and whether workers and their families are nourished.”
In its petition, the TUCP pointed out that the current P537 minimum daily wage “can only accord workers and their families nutritionally-deficient meals.”
The TUCP insisted that this could have bigger repercussions to business, bigger costs to the government and the economy if ignored.
However, Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said discussions on the wage hike petitions for Metro Manila workers could only happen if the RTWPB would determine a supervening condition.
This meant a sustained “extraordinary increase” in the price of food and other basic necessities over the past three months.
The RTPWB granted Metro Manila workers a P25 wage adjustment in November last year. /cbb
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