Labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to raise the wages of minimum waged workers and provide safety nets for their families as increases in the prices of commodities and rising cost of services erodes the purchasing power of the workers’ salary.
The ALU-TUCP cited the study of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the National Wages and Productivity Commission on the impact of prices of goods and cost of services to the current different wage rates in 17 regions nationwide which revealed a downward pattern of the standard daily minimum wage.
The total average daily nominal minimum wage of workers in private non-agricultural sector in all 17 regions in October 2017 is P327 a day. However, the purchasing power of daily average pay P327 fell to P212.45— an erosion of P114.55.
ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said that after six of 2017, the total average nominal wage for the workers in the same sector in all regions was raised to P330.47 a day. However, the purchasing power of the daily average pay P330.47 sank to P208.38— an erosion of P122.09 despite of the increase in wage rate.
According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the amount needed by a family of five to live decent life is P42,000 a month or P1,400 a day.
“The current wage rates obviously continue to be inadequate of a living wage. Due to supervening conditions, President Duterte must take jurisdiction over the wage boards and, as the chief executive, determine and adjust the wage rates. At the same time, the government must help in improving the salary of workers by giving social safety net program,” Tanjusay said.
“By virtue of the extraordinary rise of inflation, Duterte must make decisions to help lift the lives of workers from poverty. We see no other hope. There is no other choice but for the President to take jurisdiction over the matter,” Tanjusay said.
The biggest and the fastest erosion of the purchasing power of daily minimum wage occurred in Metro Manila comprising 17 cities and municipalities. In October 2017, the buying power of P512 daily minimum wage is P362.89. Six months later, the purchasing power of P512 to buy goods and pay for services is only P352.13— an erosion of P10.76 over the period of six months.
In Region 7, (Eastern Visayas) on October last year, the nominal daily minimum wage is P366 for workers working in non-agricultural sector. However, the purchasing power of P366 to buy goods and pay for services is P237.97 a day. Six months later on April 2018, the purchasing power of P366 has plummeted to P231.06 a day.
In Region 11 (Davao Region), on October last year, the nominal daily minimum wage for the set of workers in P340. However, its buying power is only P211.31 a day. Six months later on April 2018, the purchasing power of P340 sank to P207.44 a day.
These daily nominal and equivalent daily purchasing power of minimum wage are way too small in comparison with the standard cost of living amount of P42,000 a month or P1,400 a day needed by a family of five announced by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on April 2018.