AN independent research group on Friday came to defend the demand of the workers of Marikina City to raise their daily take home pay by P750, stressing that the businessmen can afford to give such amount and still continue to get huge profits.
Ibon Foundation said all the capitalists in the country can give the P750 increase on the daily rate of the workers nationwide from the prevailing P481 per day since they have been getting very huge profits.
Ibon’s statement was in defense of the demand of the Marikina East Labor Association (MELA) to the Regional Wage and Productivity Board (RWPB) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Metro Manila.
Various labor organizations have filed wage increase demands in 11 regions in time for the international Labor Day on May 1.
However, MELA so far has the highest demand.
Ibon said P750 is not actually big because each family needs an additional P1,080 per day to have a decent type of living.
However, Ibon pointed out that the P750 increase on the workers’ daily income would surely benefit “millions of workers and their families,… while employers still keep over
70% of their substantial profits.”
If there would be an increase on the salary, the prices of goods and services need not rise and workers do not have to be laid off if employers accept the slight cut in their clean profits for the workers to truly get the fruits of the P750 increase, Ibon asserted.
The research group pointed out that the wage hike is necessary to improve workers’ welfare and is good for the economy as a whole.
It explained that “The amounts of profits transferred to workers’ wages was computed based on data from the 2012 Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The census shows that 36,699 establishments with employment of 20 or over had Php1.6 trillion in total profits and 4.0 million employees.”
“Raising the average daily basic pay of wage and salary workers from the nationwide average of some P334 to P750 transfers just P475 billion to workers’ pockets – this is only a 30% decrease in profits that still leaves employers with a significant 70% of their clean profits. On the other hand, each worker will be able to take home, on average, an additional P9,089 monthly for their families,” Ibon argued.
The group added that wage hike is further justified by how the minimum wage has barely kept pace with inflation and even lagged behind rising labor productivity.
According to Ibon, “the country’s largest corporations and wealthiest families are the most able to absorb the wage hike. The government meanwhile can ensure special support for small producers in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This includes immediately providing cheap and easy credit, giving marketing support, nurturing locally-integrated supply chains, and improving their scientific and technological capabilities.”
MSMEs will also benefit from increased worker demand for their goods and services for the domestic market, the group added.
Ibon strongly averred that “transforming a portion of profits to higher wages is a shift to domestic demand-driven growth that is more sustainable than relying on external markets especially amid the protracted global crisis. It is a first step to arresting worsening inequality in the country and rectifying gross imbalances in wealth and corresponding political power.”
“It also begins reorienting the economy from making a few wealthy at the expense of the majority. Raising wages is only one of the most concrete ways for growth to become more inclusive. Low-paid workers will share in the fruits of economic growth and not just a handful of elite families and big corporations,” it added.