THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed Thursday a petition for a P75 across-the-board daily wage increase for private workers in Northern Mindanao.

Representative Raymond Democrito Mendoza of the TUCP party-list said the petition, which they filed at the regional office of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB), is due to the significant rise in the prices of basic commodities for the last two years.

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“The last increase given by RTWPB was in 2008, which was a mere P12 given as cost of living allowance (Cola). That increase has been overtaken by the continuing increases in the prices of petroleum products, basic good and services, and transportation fares,” Mendoza said during a press conference held at the Cagayan de Oro Press Club boardroom Thursday.

Currently, private workers in Northern Mindanao are receiving a minimum daily wage of P256 per day.

With the proposed P75 increase, the minimum wage would rise to P331 per day, which the TUCP hopes to be implemented May 1 in time for Labor Day.

Since 1990, Mendoza said TUCP has been filing a yearly wage increase but said they refrained from filing a petition for any wage increases in the last two years in consideration with the economic crisis that has affected not only the Philippines but other countries as well.

However, he said the country has started to recover from the financial crisis hence workers deserve to get a wage increase.

Mendoza justified the petition by citing the rise in the region*s Consumer Price Index (CPI) from P155.70 to P171.40 between June 2008 and January 2010. A CPI is a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households.

He stressed that the proposed increase is needed by all employees including those who are receiving above the minimum wage.

Alex Aguilar, TUCP assistant secretary general, said their wage increase stance as “non-negotiable”.

“It’s almost two years since the last wage adjustment was implemented so there’s no reason for employers to negotiate,” Aguilar said.

He added that the TUCP has already anticipated objection from employers, as what usually happened in the last petitions they filed.

However, said it’s “outright stupid” to say that workers don’t need the increase in view of the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities. “We have sacrificed for two years. Now we are asking the employers to help us and share the burden. They should be the one to sacrifice now,” Aguilar said.

In Northern Mindanao, there are at least 26 employees’ unions with 10,000 members.

Aside from Northern Mindanao, TUCP has also filed petitions for wage increases for private employees in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Davao City.