Labor group mulls filing wage hike petition

THE Associated Labor Unions (ALU) said Wednesday that it is now looking at the necessity of seeking an increase in the daily minimum wage of workers.

In an interview, ALU-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said they are now looking at the possibility of filing a petition for a wage hike.

“ALU-TUCP is mulling at filing a wage increase petition but we have no amount yet,” said Tanjusay.

The wage hike petition, he added, will likely be filed first at the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR).

The last Wage Order issued by the NCR wage board took effect on June 2, 2016.

In Wage Order no. NCR-20, Metro Manila workers were granted the integration of P15 cost of living allowance (Cola) to the basic pay and an increase of P10 Cola per day.

Tanjusay's statement comes after ALU lamented the diminishing value of the workers’ daily wage as it is now pegged at only P363.70 despite the minimum wage rate for Metro Manila being P491.

“The quality of life of Filipino working class is heading for the worst. The purchasing power of the country’s highest daily minimum wage of P491 drops by P127.30 a day,” said ALU vice president Gerard Seno in a statement.

It should be noted that in January of last year, when Metro Manila had a P481 daily minimum wage, the real value was pegged at P364.39 a day, or a reduction of P116.61 a day.

Seno said this means that workers will have to settle for cheaper basic commodities and expenditures in order to make ends meet.

“The diminishing capacity of wage to buy goods and services had been creating a variety of very serious adverse impacts to workers and their families’ daily struggle to meet both ends,” he added.

Among them, Seno said, are workers resorting to the cheapest but less nutritious food, their children being ripped of quality education, and rising preference to work abroad.

The labor leader pointed at the plunging value of a peso to a measly 67 centavos, which is being seen as the lowest since 2008, as the cause of having a diminished daily wage rate.

According to ALU, the purchasing power of one peso was 90 centavos in 2008; 86 centavos in 2009; 83 centavos in 2010; 79 centavos in 2011; 77 centavos in 2012; 75 centavos in 2013; 72 centavos in 2014; and 71 centavos in 2015.

“One peso can buy you three pieces of candies in 2008. But now that one peso in your pocket can only buy you two pieces of candies. These changes in the value of our money are big deal for millions of rank and file workers,” Seno said. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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