The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish regional wage boards and instead create a singular wage-fixing body to determine a uniform minimum wage rate nationwide.
In a statement, TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said there is an "urgent need" for Duterte to start abolishing the differentiated provincial rates.
Under the TUCP proposal, the current structure will be replaced with a singular tripartite wage setting body that would determine a uniform minimum wage nationwide based on several criteria.
"The wage board is key in achieving equality and social justice for workers," said Mendoza. "Its mandate is to ensure that our economic growth also benefits the workers."
"However, our economy is growing and business enterprises have been prospering but the workers who helped built the wealth remain impoverished," he added.
The minimum daily wage in Metro Manila was adjusted upward to P537 in November 2018, but wages in other provinces currently fall below this.
Currently, there are a total of 17 wage boards across the country mandated to set a minimum wage, all of which were created through Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.
In its proposal, however, the TUCP said there is a need to first increase all wages across the country by P100 in efforts to lift employees above the poverty threshold.
“Before overhauling the wage fixing mechanism, President Duterte must order all 17 regional wage boards across the country to immediately review and adjust their issued wage orders to a uniform daily P100 wage hike as stated by [Labor] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello as the amount the board should have granted to lift workers out of poverty,” said Mendoza.
"Prices of commodities and costs of services are the same in all parts of the country. Aside from that, the job function and tasks of a waiter or a clerk in Visayas and Mindanao are the same job function and tasks in Luzon but why are their wages different?” he added. —Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/KBK, GMA News