A number of labor groups have argued that the P25 minimum wage hike approved by the government is still inadequate to meet workers’ needs.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday officially announced that the NCR Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board approved the increase, which would raise the minimum wage in the capital for non-agricultural workers to P537.
The hike will take effect 15 days after publication of the order. The current minimum wage in the NCR is P502 plus P10 for cost of living allowance.
Just weeks before the P25 wage hike was approved, a petition for a P334 wage hike was previously filed in October 2018 saying that the present P512 minimum wage had weakened purchasing power.
Some labor groups have voiced their opposition to the approved P25 wage hike.
Partido Manggagawa in a series of tweets said that the wage hike would be “an insult, not a relief.”
Filipino workers are overworked yet underpaid. The P25 wage hike will be an insult not a relief. We call on President Duterte to endorse a national minimum wage instead as he had once promised to labor grps https://t.co/D3kVNYCp0i
— PM PartidoManggagawa (@manggagawa) November 5, 2018
P25 is just alms not relief to overworked yet underpaid Filipino workers. P25 cannot compensate for 7% runaway inflation and real wage stagnation despite 50% labor productivity increase from 2001-2016 https://t.co/0DuuGd1ppB
— Benjamin Velasco (@BenjieBVelasco) November 5, 2018
IBON Foundation Executive Director Sonny Africa in a tweet said that the approved hike favored companies’ profit over ordinary workers.
In 'balancing' the interests of workers and employers, wage boards always 'balance' in favor of profits over people.
Php25 NCR wage hike is just 1.9% of the profits of NCR establishments with 20 or more workers — leaving 98.1% of their profits intact. https://t.co/xzCAuhul4k
— Sonny Africa (@sonnyafrica) November 5, 2018
Angelita D. Señorin and German N. Pascua Jr., the worker representatives on the Metro Manila Wage Board ahead of the announcement criticized the P25 increase, saying that it was inadequate.
“The P25 increase and integration of P10 COLA is far from an inclusive increase, given the ‘amazing’ real economic growth. Even as productivity has grown, there has been no real wage increase,” Señorin said in an interview with Business World.
The ALU-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the group that petitioned for the P334 wage hike, said that it will file a petition “to lift the minimum wage to a desirable level.”
Calls for higher wage amid surging prices
The calls to increase the minimum wage come in the wake of surging inflation in 2018.
Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of the ALU-TUCP previously explained that the P334 asked by their group was based on the 6.2 percent inflation rate in the third quarter of 2018.
The ALU-TUCP has also called for a uniform P800 national minimum wage to help workers afford the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law as well as rising cost of living expenses due to the surging inflation rate.
Surging prices in food and oil products are believed to have caused the 6.7 percent inflation recorded in October 2018, a nine-year high.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board that same month approved a P2 increase in the minimum jeepney fare, raising the fare for the country’s most widely-used public transportation system to P10 just months after a previous fare hike.
A commuters’ group has protested the fare hike, saying that the excise tax on oil should instead be removed to help both commuters and public transport operators survive the effects of the price surge.