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Militant labor groups demand living, not ‘libing’ wage

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 12:48 AM November 02, 2012

“Libing (burial),” not living, wage.

This was how militant and labor groups described the remaining P10 increase in the cost-of-living-allowance (Cola) for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, which took effect Thursday.

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“No wonder the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) implemented this hike in time for Day of the Dead (Araw ng Patay),” Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo said in a statement.

Crisostomo said the hike is far from the P125 demanded by the workers and the P993 Family Living Wage set by Ibon Foundation in 2011, the amount required to meet daily family needs.

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“The present workers’ pay is not a living wage, it’s a ‘libing’ (funeral) wage. You can feel the spirit of the dead, but not the wage hike,” he said in Filipino, adding that most employers do not implement the minimum wage levels.

‘Perfect timing’

“The timing of the implementation of the P10 Cola for National Capital Region workers is perfect. Through meager wage hikes and Colas, this government has been putting a gravestone on workers’ hopes for a living wage,” added Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Elmer “Bong” Labog.

The P10 hike comprises the second tranche of the Cola granted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) last May to daily minimum wage workers in Metro Manila.

“This raises the daily minimum wage in the NCR’s non-agricultural sector to P426 basic pay plus P30 Cola, or a total of P456. For other industries/sectors, the daily minimum wage will be P389 basic pay plus P30 Cola, or a P419 daily minimum wage rate,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

It can be recalled that the RTWPB-NCR mandated a minimum wage hike of P30 in Cola through the issuance of Wage Order No. NCR-17 on May 21, 2012.

The first of the two tranches took effect last June, thereby granting an additional P20 Cola allowance for Metro Manila workers.

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According to the DOLE, around 700,000 minimum wage earners in the metropolis benefit from the Cola hike.

All-encompassing

The wage increase covers all minimum wage earners in the private sector in the NCR, regardless of their position, designation or status of employment and irrespective of the method by which they are paid.

On the other hand, domestic helpers, persons employed in the personal service of another, including family drivers, and workers of duly-registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises  are exempted from the wage order.

Aside from the RTWPB-NCR, 10 other RTWPBs have issued wage increases this year, namely the RTWPBs of CAR, Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12 and ARMM.

Baldoz noted that the new wage orders already contain the features of the two-tiered wage system, one of the major reforms the DOLE is pushing.

“Within the period of three to five years, all wage boards must have already implemented the two-tiered wage system,” she said.

Baldoz encouraged companies to develop and implement productivity improvement programs in addition to their voluntary compliance with the minimum wage laws, saying this is the second tier component of the two-tier wage system, a voluntary productivity-based pay for adjustments above the floor wage.

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