• Labor groups push P500 monthly subsidy for workers

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    LABOR groups will no longer contest the grant of P21 wage hike to minimum wage earners in Metro Manila but will push for the grant of a P500 monthly subsidy from government.

    The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said on Sunday that they would appeal directly to President Rodrigo Duterte for the approval of the P500 monthly cash subsidy.

    The National Capital Region Wage Productivity and Tripartite Board (RWPTB) last week granted P21 daily wage increase for Metro workers. ALU-TUCP asked for P184.

    The biggest group of labor unions however said regional boards were no longer responsive to the needs of minimum wage workers and their families, thus the need for presidential intervention.

    “We will no longer pursue our plan to file an appeal on the wage order 21 issued by the wage board giving workers in Metro Manila a P21 wage increase in their basic pay. What we will pursue is to ask President Duterte again to grant our request to him to provide a P500 monthly subsidy or P16 a day for all minimum-wage earners, not just in Metro Manila but nationwide, to augment workers’ purchasing power to cope with 3.1%-and-rising inflation and surging cost of living,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

    “The President has promised genuine change. Well, this is the right time to tilt the balance in favor of the workers who have been living way below the poverty standard and fulfill his vow for real reforms in view of the few elites who hoards the wealth of our country and control our democratic system,” he added.

    Organized labor submitted its proposal for P500 cash subsidy in April to Malacañang but it has yet to be acted upon by the President.

    Tanjusay said it can be implemented through the Emergency Labor Empowerment and Assistance Program (ELEAP) by having government issue cash vouchers to qualified beneficiaries disbursed by the Social Security System (SSS), accredited trade unions and regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

    With the P21 wage hike, the minimum wage in the National Capital Region will be P512 effective in October.

    But Tanjusay said this is not sufficient.

    “The P21 increase in daily wage remains insufficient for families to cope with rising prices of goods and increasing costs of goods. P21 is only 4.27 percent of the current P491. So it obviously did not lift workers out of poverty. Workers who helped build a high economic growth of 6.9% average Gross Domestic Product do not deserve this very small amount,” Tanjusay said.

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