OrganizeD labor has reiterated its call on President Rodrigo Duterte to increase the minimum wage nationwide, citing falling purchasing power of the daily pay and rising cost of living.
The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) issued the appeal even as the Regional Tripatite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (Metro Manila) deliberates this week on a final new wage increase for minimum wage workers in the region.
The ALU-TUCP earlier filed an across-the-board P184 daily wage hike for minimum wage workers in Metro Manila.
“President Duterte can text or call the wage board and prod them the amount of wage increase that he desires and it will be done. The President can also issue a presidential executive order mandating a wage increase needed by workers and their families to cope with and survive the increasing prices of goods and services. The President has a variety of options to make a significant wage hike,” ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said over the weekend.
He added that the workers had been desperate for a significant across-the-board wage increase for many years but the wage board has always been granting meager wage increases despite an improving economy.
“The last time the workers experienced a significant wage hike was in 1989 or 28 years ago when then-President Corazon Aquino gave a P25 daily across-the-board wage increase nationwide. After that, the wage board has been issuing a pittance… as if the workers are beggars,” Tanjusay said.
The ALU-TUCP said workers’ minimum wage should be P675 a day, not the current P491 for workers in the NCR, adding that the real value of P491 has eroded to P375.
The wage board last year issued Wage Order (WO) NCR-20 effective June 2, 2016 granting P10 as daily COLA (cost of living allowance).
On September 6, 2013 it granted a P10 daily increase in basic wage effective October 4, 2013 and the integration of the P15 of the P30 COLA under WO NCR-17 effective January 1, 2014.
WO NCR-19 on March 16, 2015 granted a P15 daily increase in the existing basic wage effective April 4, 2015.
These increases, according to the ALU-TUCP, have been overtaken by increases in electricity and water rates, health and education costs and prices of oil including liquefied petroleum gas and basic goods and services.
Despite the gains in the economy and productivity, workers and their families have not been granted a single peso in real wage increase since 1989, it said.
According to government official figures, as of April 2017, the purchasing power of the legislated P491 daily minimum wage in NCR is only P357.09, eroded by 27.3 percent.