• Labor groups poised to seek higher wages

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    LABOR groups are poised to demand an increase in the daily take home pay for workers in the private sector because of the falling value of the Philippine peso.

    Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), Associated Labor Unions (ALU) national executive vice president Gerard Seno said on Wednesday that the purchasing power of one peso fell to an 8-year low of 67 centavos in December 2016.

    Because of the diminishing value of the peso, the minimum wage of P491 is only worth P363.70.

    “The diminishing capacity of wage to buy goods and services had been creating a variety of very serious adverse impacts to workers and their families’ daily struggle to meet both ends. For example, workers will resort to cheap but less nutritious, poor quality food choices. With the lack of good nutrition, their productivity at work is affected,” the labor leader said.

    The purchasing power of 1 peso was 90 centavos in 2008, 86 centavos in 2009, 83 centavos in 2010, 79 centavos in 2011, 77 centavos in 2012, 75 centavos in 2013, 72 centavos in 2014, and 71 centavos in 2015.

    “One peso can buy you three pieces of candies in 2008. But now, that 1 peso in your pocket can only buy you two pieces of candies. These changes in the value of our money are big deal for millions of rank and file workers,” Seno said.

    Last year, the labor sector asked the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to approve a P125 across-the-board wage increase in the daily take home pay of private workers to help them cope with high prices of goods.

    But Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3d said a P125 across-the-board wage hike will lead to higher inflation rate.
    Bello pointed out that any wage increase will have implications on the cost of doing business, production, employment and prices.

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