A big labor group on Friday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise his political will and stand up for workers by setting a P100 minimum wage adjustment in Metro Manila.
Days before Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s expected announcement of the pay rise for minimum wage workers in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) called on Mr. Duterte to intervene and increase to P100 the reported P25 wage adjustment.
Appeal for ‘malasakit’
“We are appealing to President Duterte’s kind-hearted ‘malasakit’ to please spare a portion of your presidential powers in favor of the working class by raising the recent ‘unofficial’ and measly P25 daily wage increase to at least P100 a day,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay said that while this amount represented just a third of the P344 increase they were demanding from employers, it would enable workers and their families to “temporarily tide things over and get by through the hardship” brought about by the high inflation rate.
NCR workers currently enjoy the highest minimum wage in the country at P512. ALU-TUCP’s estimates show, however, that its value has since eroded to just P340.
Lost due to inflation
A separate study conducted in September by the labor group Sentro showed that for a worker in NCR to recover the value of his wage that was lost due to inflation, at least P28.17 should be added to his daily wage.
Earlier, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) preempted Bello’s announcement of the wage adjustment when it said the pay raise would just be P25.
But Bello said any amount revealed by either Ecop or ALU-TUCP was speculative since he had yet to receive the recommendation of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.
Tanjusay slammed Ecop for making the announcement before the National Wages and Productivity Commission could process the wage recommendation.
“This is a concrete example of how most businessmen are irresponsibly manipulating matters to keep their profit-oriented interests at all cost even at the cost of workers’ suffering,” he said.
This is the reason why, he said, Mr. Duterte should take the matter into his own hands.
“This time, at the most crucial period of your presidency, we urge you to stand up for workers and their families and don’t let us down at a time when we needed you the most,” he said.