Metro workers to get P30 wage increase
Metro Manila workers from the private sector can soon look forward to a P30 hike in their cost of living allowance (Cola).
Alan Macaraya, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) chair in the National Capital Region, announced this yesterday, adding that the increase would be given in two tranches—P20 upon the effectivity of the wage order and the remainder on Nov. 1.
The wage order is expected to take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation. According to the Department of Labor and Employment, around 700,000 minimum wage earners in the metropolis will benefit from the Cola hike.
With its effectivity, the daily minimum wage rate for Metro Manila workers in the nonagricultural sector will go up to P456 compared to P419 for those serving in the agricultural sector, private hospitals with a bed capacity of 100 or less, retail and service establishments with only 15 employees or manufacturing firms with fewer than 10 laborers.
Macaraya said that the P22 Cola hike which took effect last year would now be incorporated into the basic pay of minimum wage earners in Metro Manila. This means that the amount would be included in the calculation of their overtime pay, night differential and 13th month bonus.
The RTWPB’s decision to hike the Cola was arrived at following the holding of consultations and public hearings on a Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) petition for a P90 across-the-board wage increase for workers in the metropolis.
Macaraya, who is also the labor department-NCR director, said that the additional P30 would have a “manageable” impact on the unemployment rate in the region.
“The P30 is within the range of the five percent inflation target set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, meaning [it] will not raise the basic price of commodities. It will also have minimal impact [on] employment that’s why the board decided to approve the new wage order,” he told reporters.
Several labor groups, however, were far from pleased.
“The increase given was loose change and yet it will still be given in installments. This is an added insult to workers and their families. The increase is still too meager to meet their needs. It does not do much to help them cope with increases in the prices of basic goods and services and in the payments for public utilities,” said Roger Soluta, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) secretary general.
He called on Congress to approve the pending P125 legislated wage hike bill being pushed by his group. At the same time, he announced that the KMU has set a protest march to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge near Malacañang on May 30 to “condemn the Aquino government’s refusal to increase workers’ wages by a significant amount.”
The “Herrera faction” of the TUCP also expressed dismay over the P30 hike as it vowed to file a motion for reconsideration.
“The allowance does not address workers’ concerns articulated by TUCP that real wages have not improved through the years and that workers have not participated in real gains in production and productivity,” said TUCP president and former Sen. Ernesto Herrera.
“However, we welcome the immediate implementation of the wage order, if only to provide temporary relief to many, many minimum wage earners and their families in the NCR. We welcome the integration of the P22 Cola from the last wage order,” he added.
The other TUCP faction headed by Democrito Mendoza which was responsible for filing the wage hike petition in the RTWPB said it had “mixed feelings” about the two-tranche Cola increase.
It added that it would also file an appeal.
“We [asked for] a P90 increase to narrow the gap between the basic minimum pay of P426 and the family living wage in NCR which is P993. It is very clear that the wage board does not seriously take into account the lives of the workers. What they did in this instance is to heed the profit-oriented employers,” Mendoza said.
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