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Sunday, March 3, 2024

TUCP, Jinggoy clash on P150 wage hike bid

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The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomed Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s bill which seeks to increase the minimum wage of private workers by P150, saying the proposed adjustment is “badly needed” by workers.

However, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada ruled out Friday the possibility of passing a law that would grant the P150 daily wage hike to minimum wage earners by Labor Day or May 1.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate labor and employment committee, saidthe bill filed by Zubiri needs to undergo a thorough public consultation.

“We welcome these various initiatives to increase wages of workers because these many proposals, especially spearheaded by the SenatePresident, underscore the badly needed wage adjustment in light of theerosion of the purchasing power of workers’ wages due to inflation,” TUCP representative and Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito Mendoza said in a statement.

The labor group said the current rates “are not decent wages that can sustain the health, productivity, and decent life of working Filipinos and their families trapped in the subsistence conditions as the stubbornly high inflation persists.” (See full story online at manilastandard.net)

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Zubiri earlier warned that Filipinos will be driven to work abroad if the government fails to increase the minimum wage.

But Estrada said: “It’s been only a year since the opening of the country’s economy following the two-year extensive COVID-19 restriction… We’re still struggling trying to return to the pre-pandemic levels.”

“More than the issue of wage increase is the issue of job security,” the senator added.

The Senate President warned that either the government increase Filipino workers’ salary “or watch them leave the country for better pay.”

Zubiri said the daily wage in Metro Manila alone is about $10, while in other countries such as the United States, the rate is $10 per hour.

“They will really opt to work in other countries if they do not get a decent wage. We cannot shortchange our workers. Without them, our industries will shut down, and our economy will plummet. So, they really deserve to make a living wage,” he said.

But Estrada said the interests of the workers and the employers should be balanced to ensure job preservation especially now that the country’s economy is still “struggling” to return to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

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