THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is not likely to grant labor groups’ demand for a P184 across-the-board daily wage increase for workers in Metro Manila, with Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod saying that the wage hike petition will have to pass through a “rigorous study.”
“We all know that the salary of our workers is really not enough, which is why the labor groups are seeking for salary adjustment. We support it but we need to study it carefully because of its effects in general. As what President Duterte had said, we should study it if it needs to be studied,” Maglungsod said.
Leaders of labor groups interpreted his statement as a diplomatic rejection of the wage hike petition.
Maglungsod said an extensive study and consultation between business, labor, and other concerned sectors are needed because of the implications of the wage hike on business and employers.
Sources at the labor sector said that the biggest pay hike approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) was P50.
Last year, the Association of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines- (ALU-TUCP) filed a P154 wage hike petition for workers of the National Capital Region (NCR) but only P10 was granted.
On Monday, the ALU-TUCP petitioned for a P184 across-the-board increase for Metro Manila workers, whose
P494 daily minimum wage has eroded by 27.3 percent or down to P357.09 because of inflation.
The group said it will file similar petitions in other regions in the coming days.
“We filed a petition for wage increase to help restore the dignity of workers who are getting poorer every day despite helping in our economy grow consistently high. We felt they toiled so much to build our country’s wealth yet only the oligarchs and the few elites are benefitting from such growth and not the workers and their families,” said Gerard Seno, ALU national executive vice president.
“We are actually just asking the wage board to restore the purchasing power of the workers’ wages and to compensate their contribution to the improvement of the economy,” he added.
The RTWPBs are mandated by law to determine and fix the minimum wage rates and structure applicable in a particular region.
The board is composed of the DOLE regional director, regional directors of the National Economic and Development Authority and Department of Trade and Industry, and two representatives each from the worker and employer sectors as members.
Increasing the minimum wage was one of the issues raised by workers during their labor dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte on Labor Day.