Two big labor groups have filed petitions to increase the daily minimum wage by P100, reiterating that the salary hike is warranted amid the untamed inflation affecting millions of ordinary Filipino workers.
The Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa (Kapatiran) and Partido Manggagawa (PM) filed separate petitions for wage recovery before the National Capital Region Wage Board on Tuesday.
With November inflation escalating to 8 percent, Partido Manggagawa said their demand for an immediate wage hike will at least restore the lost purchasing power of workers.
The regional wage boards earlier this year approved an increase in the minimum wage in several regions, with the lowest in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at P305, and the highest in Metro Manila or NCR at P570 as of October 2022.
The salary hike, together with reforms in the country’s wage rationalization law, was part of the Five-Point Labor Agenda being pushed by Nagkaisa, a coalition to which PM is affiliated.
Other agendas under Nagkaisa’s platform include a public employment program, an end to “endo” (end-of-contract work or contractualization), trade union repression both in the private and public sectors, and mechanisms for continuing dialogue to discuss the industry and structural reforms.
“Without an immediate pay hike, workers are left to shoulder the impacts of the rising cost of living while Congress and economic managers spend their time pooling funds, including pension funds of workers, to invest in the Maharlika Investment Fund,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.
“Without reforms in the wage fixing mechanisms, poverty wages shall be confined to where they are during the last three decades – at starvation levels,” he said.
PM supported the Kapatiran petition for a wage hike and argued that even without runaway inflation, workers deserve a fair share of economic growth and rising productivity.
“GDP and labor productivity were on the rise during the last three decades, yet real wages remained flat. So, we really don’t understand why proponents of Maharlika in Congress never thought of providing workers wealth transfers (i.e., wealth tax) and rather trained their guns at how employee pension funds can be converted into capital,” lamented Magtubo.
PM likewise dismissed the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ (ECOP) main argument against the wage hike petition.
“ECOP says only 10 percent of workers will benefit from a wage hike, as registered enterprises are 90% MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises). Yet the truth is, big companies also benefit from low minimum wage by way of ‘endo’ or contractualization,” Magtubo said.
The labor group said thousands of agency workers deployed in medium and large companies are paid the basic minimum wage, the reason why ECOP vehemently rejects any attempt to end “endo.”