Bello pushes wage hike ‘not lower than P20’

The minimum wage for Metro Manila workers will be adjusted by at least P20 per day before the end of October, raising the wage to P532 from P512 a day, the Labor Department said Friday.

READ: Labor protests: P20-wage hike measly amount

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the proposed wage adjustment would not be lower than P20. He said labor and management groups should first agree through public hearings on a “consensus” rate increase based on the companies’ ability to pay.

Meanwhile, a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Member Aileen Lizada said economic managers had warned of the inflationary effects of the higher-than-expected P2 increase in the minimum jeepney fare.

Aileen Lizada cited an Oct. 2 letter from National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon suggesting a P9.50 minimum fare for jeepneys.

Bello said his department will conduct a public hearing by the end of October this year to agree on the amount of pay adjustment in the National Capital Region.

The wage increase was proposed by labor groups as the cost of living had risen with the increase in food and gas prices and the approved bus and jeepney fare hikes, which are set to take effect in November.

“The increase will depend on what will be discussed during the public hearing. The pay hike will be effective immediately once a resolution is decided,” Bello said.

He said he favored a wage increase to help minimum wage earners cope with the rising cost of living, but there was also the need to protect establishments from going bankrupt.

The proposed increase, Bello said, would protect the interests of the stakeholders that needed to be balanced, or else many workers would suffer because many establishments will be forced to close down.

“We have to balance the interest of management and also labor. You cannot give a very high wage hike to the workers. It will only help in the short term,” he said.

“At least there is an effort to come up with an adjustment that can be acceptable to both labor and management.”

But the Alliance of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines wants a wage increase of P320 and has described the proposed wage hike as demeaning and an insult to the millions of workers in Manila.

READ: Labor union pushes P320 wage increase

Topics: minimum wage , Department of Labor and Employment , Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board , Aileen Lizada
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