THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has filed a petition asking for P75 across-the-board wage increase for workers in National Capital Region (NCR).

“Wage increase for private sector employees in NCR is urgent in the midst of skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services,” said TUCP Representative Raymond Mendoza, who filed the petition before the NCR Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board Monday morning.

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He added: “Power and water utilities and oil firms are also planning to increase their charges and that would further erode the purchasing power of worker’s salary.”

The current daily minimum wage in the country’s capital is P382. The last wage hike was approved two years ago in June 2008.

Aside from an increase in the daily take-home pay of workers, the group has also petitioned that the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) now be integrated into the basic wage.

Consumer prices in Metro Manila rose by five percent from June 2008 to January 2010 and are expected to rise further by nine percent within the period from January to December 2010.

“If wages will remain stagnant, then more workers will certainly slide to poverty and those who are in the middle class will become the newly poor” he said in a statement.

The TUCP official also noted that according to the Monetary Board and the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), the country was not as badly hit by the international financial crisis.

“The economists of Neda are saying that the global recession has ended, so be it if they say. I believe that the economy can afford a new round of wage hikes and I appeal to our private sector partners to be more considerate this time,” Mendoza added.

Of the P75 minimum wage increase, P19 reflects the actual increase in prices from June 2008 to January 2010, P35 reflects the projected rise in CPI from January 2010 to December 2010, and P21 indicates the 21 years that there have been no increases in the real wage since 1989.

“The quality of life of workers must improve as the economy grows. That is the real meaning of equitable development,” said Mendoza. (FP/Sunnex)