Labor rejects P17 wage hike for Metro workers

from July 31, 2017 01:00 am to July 31, 2017 01:00 am

A resolution granting a P16 or P17 increase to minimum wage earners in Metro Manila is expected to be handed down soon by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila.

This was disclosed over the weekend by the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), through its spokesman Alan Tanjusay, in wake of the termination last Thursday of consultations among representatives of the labor sector and other stakeholders and the NCR wage board.

“Consultation is finished today. The wage board will come up with a wage order less than two weeks from now. We heard that the wage board will come up with a P16 or P17 wage increase,” Tanjusay said in a text message to The Manila Times.

But ALU and other labor groups, he added, are not satisfied with the expected collective decision of the RTWPB-NCR, saying it is a pittance when workers are seeking an additional P184 to the daily pay.

The ALU filed on June 6 a P184 wage increase petition, a year after the effectivity period of the current P491 daily minimum wage rate lapsed on June 2, 2017, to restore the real value of P491, which has eroded by 27 percent in May 2017.

Records from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Wages and Productivity Commission as of May 25, 2017 showed that the purchasing power of P491 is P357.

“We reject the P16 wage hike being offered by the wage board. We rather urge the wage board to be relevant and responsive to the needs of workers and their families by raising the workers’ daily pay to P675. The workers who helped build the country’s consistent high economy growth through their toil and sweat do not deserve P16,” Tanjusay said.

Expected to announce its final decision on the wage petition next week, the wage board is composed of two representatives from employers’ group, two from labor organizations and one each from the Department of Labor and Employment, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod, a former labor leader, said the salary of workers is really not enough, which is why labor groups are seeking salary adjustment.

According to Maglungsod, while the Labor department supports the cause of the workers, the implications of a P184 across-the-board increase on the side of business and the employers should also be considered.

The biggest pay hike so far approved by a Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) was only P50.

Last year, the Association of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines- (ALU-TUCP) filed a P154 wage hike petition for workers of the NCR but only P10 was granted.

The RTWPBs are mandated by law to determine and fix the minimum wage rates and structure applicable in a particular region.

The increase in minimum wage was among the major issues raised by workers during a labor dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte on Labor Day.