A labor group has accused the government and employers’ representatives to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productive Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) of delaying the release of a new wage hike order for private-sector workers in Metro Manila or NCR.
Wage hike petitioner Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), through spokesman Alan Tanjusay, on Monday pointed out that it has been almost a month since the RTWP-NCR concluded its consultations with stakeholders but it still failed to come up with a new wage order.
“As inflation continues to overtake real wages, the wage board is becoming more obsolete and irrelevant to the needs of the workers in delaying for several weeks now the announcement of a new wage order. The board is showing bias and preference in favor of abusive employers and capitalists by delaying and changing the pattern of wage increases. They should be held responsible to the poverty experienced by workers. The wage board is causing the misery of the people,” Tanjusay said.
On June 6, the labor group filed with the wage board a wage increase petition of P184 daily to restore the purchasing power of P491 daily minimum wage to P675. The board completed the required public consultations with employers and labor groups on August 7.
The NCR wage board is composed of five representatives each from the Department of Labor and Employment as chairman, Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic and Development Authority, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and two representatives from the labor sector.
Citing government data, Tanjusay said there are at least six million minimum wage earners in Metro Manila who are dependent on a significant wage increase to cope with the sharp rise in the cost of living.
The group said the purchasing power of the P491 daily minimum wage in the NCR has eroded to only P357 because of inflation brought about by the increases in power and water rates, in health and education costs, the prices of oil and its products and of basic goods and services.
“With the 27 percent erosion of the current daily minimum wage rate, we surmise that, as of today, there are millions of workers including their dependents who are deeply mired in poverty because they cannot cope with high prices of goods and services. They need a significant wage increase. But if the wage board is delaying the decision on a wage increase, it is a very serious matter altogether,” Tanjusay said.
Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod, however, earlier said the P184 across-the-board daily wage increase is unlikely to be granted because of its effect in general on businesses and the employers.
“Extensive study and consultation between business, labor and other concerned sectors are needed as the said proposed increase will give substantial relief to the workers and their families but will also have implications on the side of the business and employers,” he added.
Tanjusay said they were not really expecting a P184 daily wage increase, adding that they received information that the RTWPB-NCR is likely to grant only a P16 to P17 increase.