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‘Price swings erode workers’ buying power’

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said Tuesday high inflation was pushing down the workers’ buying power as it criticized the government and employers for their alleged lack of social responsibility.

The labor group said the rising prices of goods and the surging cost of services were continuing to pull down the capacity of workers to buy goods and to pay for services.

In other developments:

• The poorest 60 million Filipinos suffered income loss due to inflation in the first six months of 2018, the research group IBON Foundation said on Tuesday.

It estimated loss at between P993 and P2,715 and blamed it on high inflation.  

The inflation rate increased from 3.4 percent in January 2018 to 5.2 percent in June of the same year. 

• Finance Secretary Carlos Dominquez on Tuesday assured senators that his department’s prudent debt management and fiscal discipline had prepared it for the changing global trends.

Speaking during the Development Budget Coordination Committee Senate briefing, Dominguez said they had exceeded growth expectations while the revenues were above target. 

“Higher government spending means more services delivered to our people. We have put more money in people’s pockets,” he said.

ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said before the government’s Tax Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law, the total average daily minimum wage of minimum wage earners for contractualized and entry-level employees nationwide for the month of October 2017 was P327 a day and its equivalent purchasing power was P212.89 a day.

In April 2018 and in light of the wage increases from the regional wage boards, the total average daily minimum wage of workers for the same set of workers rose to P330.47, but due to rising inflation, their buying power fell to P208.38 a day.

However, despite another round of wage increases in some regions, the workers’ total average nationwide pay in June 2018 rose to P335 a day, but their purchasing power remained at P208.83 a day.

“The cost of living was rising and workers and their families were having difficulty coping with the prices of food, particularly the price of rice, electricity and tuition, transportation and house rent, but we don’t know when will the government step in and extend social safety net programs to the poor workers,” Tanjusay said.

The National Economic and Development Authority set the standard amount at P1,400 a day―the amount needed by a family of five to live comfortably. 

The labor group has petitioned the regional wage boards with a P320 across-the-board wage increase, but only nine have made wage adjustments. Eight other regional wage boards have yet to adjust the wage rates in their regions. With Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta

Topics: Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines , IBON Foundation , Secretary Carlos Dominquez
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