LABOR group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said it will not contest the P21 wage increase in basic pay issued by the wage board but it will ask President Rodrigo Duterte for additional government cash subsidy to help minimum wage earners cope with the expensive cost of living not only in Metro Manila but in other regions as well.
“We will no longer pursue our plan to file an appeal on the wage order issued by the wage board giving workers in Metro Manila a P21 wage increase in their basic pay. What we will pursue is to ask President Duterte again to grant our request to him to provide a P500 monthly subsidy or P16 a day for all minimum-waged earners, not just in Metro Manila but to all workers nationwide, to augment workers’ purchasing power to cope with 3.1 percent-and-rising inflation and surging cost of living,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.
“The President has promised genuine change. Well, this is the right time to tilt the balance in favor of the workers who have been living way below the poverty standard and fulfill his vow for real reforms in view of the few elites who hoards the wealth of our country and control our democratic system,” Tanjusay said.
He added that the workers also deserve government cash assistance for helping the Philippine economic Gross Domestic Product to an average high of 6.9 percent.
“Government, not just employers, business owners and capitalists, should contribute by rewarding workers who are helping the country economically grow with their toil, sweat and blood despite of low wages, difficult and stressful working environment,” Tanjusay said.
The Regional Tripartite and Productivity Board in the National Capital Region granted a P21 wage hike in the basic to workers in NCR amid the P184 wage increase petition filed by ALU-TUCP on June 6, 2017. The minimum wage in NCR will become P512 effective first week of October next month.
On the other hand, the average daily minimum pay for all 16 other regions nationwide is at P300 a day.
However, with the 27.79 percent erosion of the daily pay, the purchasing power of the forthcoming P512 daily salary to buy goods and services is only P376 a day—which is way below the P1,200 a day, the amount the ALU-TUCP said needed by a family of five persons to survive in one day abov e poverty level.
The ALU-TUCP government subsidy proposal was submitted to Duterte on April 26, 2017. The increase will be initially sourced from the excess and unspent funds allotted to government departments and agencies within the fiscal year.