One of the country’s largest labor centers on Thursday demanded a P320 across-the-board increase in the daily minimum wage for all private sector workers in Metro Manila.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the current basic pay of P512 was not enough for a Metro Manila household with at least five members to live decently.
If approved, the petition that the TUCP filed in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board would bring the minimum wage in the National Capital Region to P832.
This will “help restore the purchasing power of their wages, to cover the further increases in prices of basic goods and services, and to compensate their contribution to the improvement of the regional and national economy,” the group said.
TUCP, which is also a party-list group in the House of Representatives, wants the P320 adjustment in the minimum wage legislated across the board and implemented in all regions. It earlier filed a bill setting the floor pay at between P576 and P832.
Another House bill, filed by lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc, sets a P750 basic wage nationwide to help workers cope with soaring prices.
In a statement, TUCP said its proposal for a daily wage of P832 was still a “survival wage.”
The group cited the rising costs of rice, fuel, sardines, school supplies, education, medical support, transportation, and other goods and services due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, oil price increases and weakening of the peso.
Since Jan. 1, the TRAIN Act has raised the cap for tax-exempt income to P250,000 yearly, but it imposed an excise on products like fuel, sugar-sweetened beverages and tobacco.
Last month, prices of basic goods and services rose to 4.6 percent nationwide, the highest in more than five years. In Metro Manila, the inflation was 4.9 percent.
Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had said that a family of five would need at least P42,000 a month to live decently.
The amount is “roughly equivalent to a P1,400 daily income, which means that P832 is still far from a decent daily wage but we will still appreciate it if the wage board will grant our present petition,” said Manuel Corral, TUCP vice president.
Poverty ‘true enemy’
TUCP also called on President Duterte to lead the fight against poverty.
“We remind the President that the question of wage policy is first and foremost in the minds of people now. Added to this is the question of addressing the problem of inflation and the quest of all for decent jobs,” said the labor center’s president, Raymond Mendoza.
The group reminded Metro Manila’s wage board that “the true enemy of our people is poverty.”
“This is not the time for ‘business as usual.’ A token wage adjustment at this time will just demean and further insult our people … Workers deserve better. They deserve justice now,” the TUCP petition said.
Several days ago, the three regional wage boards in the Visayas approved an increase of P13.50 to P41.50 in the daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector. The amounts are way below the demand of labor groups.
The adjustments will raise the minimum wage to up to P305 in Eastern Visayas, P365 in Western Visayas and P386 in Central Visayas. —TINA G. SANTOS