Workers groups welcome Senate’s pay hike measure
Various labor groups over the weekend welcomed the start of the Senate’s plenary discussions on the proposed P100 minimum wage hike, but they want the lawmakers to do more by enacting an enabling law on the living wage and overhaul the current wage fixing mechanisms.
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) chair Leody de Guzman it has been a long time since a legislative wage increase has reached the plenary floors of either house of Congress.
“Nevertheless, the proposed P100 wage increase is quite far from what is needed to provide a decent life to workers’ families,” De Guzman said in a statement on Friday.
He noted that the wage hike bill before the Senate will only benefit minimum wage earners since it is not across-the-board.
BMP president Luke Espiritu also called on Congress to enact an enabling law to implement living wage, which is a right of workers under the Constitution.
The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the plenary discussion is a piece of “good news” and a “positive step” in addressing worker’s long-time demand for a significant wage hike and living wages.
In a statement on Friday, KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis called on the House to pass a similar legislated wage bill, which he called a “more worthwhile” pursuit instead of Charter change.
Partido Manggagawa (PM) chair and Marikina City Councilor Renato Magtubo also welcomed the plenary deliberations and said the PM and other groups in Nagkaisa labor coalition will demand from the Senate to focus on the measure instead of Charter change.
He also slammed Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma for speculating that legislated wage hikes that increase a company’s operational expenses by 15 to 25 percent might have an adverse impact on micro, small and medium enterprises, lead to further job losses and inflation, and hamper the government’s drive to attract foreign investments.
He cited latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority, headline inflation as of January 2024 is at a “very low” 2.8 percent, “much reduced” from the 4.7 percent in July 2023, when the Metro Manila regional wage board ordered a P40 minimum wage hike. Meanwhile unemployment was at 3.1 percent as of December 2023, down from 4.8 percent in July 2023. INQ