TUCP seeks wage hikes for Northern, Central Mindanao
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has filed separate petitions with at least two Mindanao Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to raise the daily minimum wage of workers to between P148 and P168.
In the petition to the RTWPB in Northern Mindanao on Tuesday, TUCP acknowledged the series of wage increases in the past but “(these) have been overtaken by increases in power and water rates, in health and education costs, the prices of oil and its products, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and of basic goods and services.”
The labor group also said that despite the gains in the economy and productivity, workers have not been granted a single peso in real wage increase since 1989.
According to the TUCP, the purchasing power of the latest P318 daily minimum wage in Northern Mindanao has an actual value of only P207.98, based on government data.
The proposed rate, TUCP said, would be essential in helping workers cope with the increasing cost of living, meet their basic needs, and “give meaning and substance to the country’s policy of equitable distribution of income and wealth.”
The increase, if granted, would make the daily wage in the region P486, “which would restore the purchasing power of the workers’ wage and compensate their contribution to the improvement of the regional economy in particular and the entire country in general.”
“The petitioned P168 per day increase should be given across the board and region-wide since all workers are subject to the same changes in prices and goods and services; and the distortion in wage orders is cumbersome, unjust and does not respond to the needs of other workers,” TUCP said.
Nicandro Borja, Associated Labor Unions (ALU)-TUCP vice president for Northern Mindanao, said the present minimum salary was simply not enough for a worker and his family.
RTWPB Northern Mindanao board secretary Estrella Pahalla said they would deliberate on TUCP’s petition.
“In most cases when there are petitions, these are being considered and acted upon by the board,” Pahalla said.
“The government needs to issue a new wage order because the latest wage order (for the region) was still in 2014. There have been so many things that have impacted on the economy, but the wages of our small laborers have not moved,” Loreto Cabaya Jr., TUCP board member for Northern Mindanao, said.
He said aside from Northern Mindanao, TUCP also wanted wage increases in Central Mindanao and Southern Mindanao.
For Central Mindanao, Cabaya said TUCP has proposed an increase of P148 in daily wage.
He did not say how much TUCP was asking for those in the Davao region.
Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council, said the proposed wage hike might not be sustained and would lead to closure of small businesses.
Meanwhile, the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) has pushed for the abolition of the contractual jobs scheme, calling it the “single biggest stumbling block” to the national government’s goal of achieving “inclusive growth.”
“As a matter of fact, contractualization is incoherent with (President Aquino’s) social protection programs. The (2011 order of Labor Secretary Rosalina Baldoz that approved contractualization) allowed employers to evade mandatory benefits and bonuses for as long as manpower agencies register with the labor department and fulfill other flimsy requirements. It also undermined existing unions by weakening their bargaining power to negotiate for an increase in wages and benefits,” BMP chair Leody de Guzman said in an emailed statement. SFM/rga
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