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Monday, April 15, 2024

Congress urged to OK P150 wage hike

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The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called on the members of Congress to immediately pass House Bill No. 7871 or the Wage Recovery Act of 2023 seeking  to legislate an across-the-board wage increase of P150 in the daily wages of private sector workers nationwide.

The measure was authored by TUCP President and House Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza.

In a statement, the  TUCP said that since 1989, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) have failed to keep pace with significant changes in the cost of living, adding that immediate and meaningful wage hikes are urgent amid high prices, low incomes and widespread joblessness and informality.

The TUCP also blamed the outmoded and exploitative approach of the government  in setting ‘cheap wages’.

The last legislated wage hike through Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act which established the regional wage boards was P25 on top of the then-P64 minimum wage whereas the highest latest minimum wage hike given by the regional wage boards as of 2024 was only P50, according to the TUCP.

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The TUCP stressed that after nearly 35 years without a legislated wage hike, Congress should act now to address worker survival needs to reverse this ‘cheap labor’ policy.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the poverty threshold for a family of five nationwide is P12,030 on average monthly. This is based on the P79 daily per capita poverty threshold converted to monthly for a family of five.

The labor group said the current administration has yet to mandate any wage increase despite heightening public clamor as well as petitions and bills filed by labor groups and lawmakers, respectively.

House Deputy Majority Leader Janette Garin meanwhile said an increase of P350 per day on the minimum wage is needed to enable the ordinary worker purchase the essential commodities.

Garin added that opening the country to more investors would make such pay hike possible.

According to her, the P100 daily wage hike legislated by the Senate would still be inadequate for a minimum wage earner and would also injure the business sector, mainly the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

She cited almost 95 to 98 percent of the business enterprises are small businesses, she added.

However, Garin noted the need to balance the needs of both employers and employees as there would be a workforce reduction because companies could not maintain the salary increase costs for their employees should a legislated minimum wage increase were mandated.

In 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority said that 1,080,810 are business enterprises; of these, 99.58 percent are MSMEs. Also, MSMEs hold 63 percent of the labor force in the country. With Maricel V. Cruz

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