THE Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) has filed a petition asking for an increase of P92 per day for workers in Central Visayas.
It said that four straight quarters of at least seven percent growth have failed to trickle down to all sectors.
“The workers are being left behind. The remaining months of the Aquino administration have to tackle vigorously inequality in order to make this fabled economic growth inclusive,” ALU-TUCP said in a press statement.
It was the second petition filed this month for a wage increase. Last week, the Cebu Labor Coalition filed a petition asking for an increase of P145 each day, across the board.
At the current rates of P275 to P340, Central Visayas has the fourth largest daily minimum wage rate among 17 regions. Minimum wages are higher only in the National Capital Region (P444 to P481), Region 10 (P291 to P318), and Region 11 (P286 to P317).
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board ordered a P13 daily cost of living allowance (Cola) in February 2014, except in Bohol and 11 local governments in northern Cebu that were still recovering from the Oct. 15, 2013 earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda.
In November last year, it asked employers to incorporate the P13 Cola in the basic pay, and told the previously exempted areas to increase wages by P13 a day.
“We are not asking for too much. The P92 wage adjustment that we are asking is not wishful thinking. We only ask for what is due to the workers. This is a matter of justice for the workers and their families who are the one who toil and create money for their employers,” ALU-TUCP said.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Teresa Chan said the labor cost may not be a problem for some business establishments.
But for the services sector, which comprises 60 to 70 percent of all enterprises, labor remains one of the major costs. It would take an increase of only P13.60 per day to adjust the minimum wage of P340 for inflation, which is around four percent, Chan pointed out.
“Competition among businesses nowadays has become so stiff. Let us all be reasonable,” Chan said.
Businessman Robert Go, president of the Philippine Retailers’ Association, said the country’s labor cost is one of the highest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and productivity is one of the lowest.
“Our economic growth comes from OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances. If BPO (business process outsourcing) companies, which are already giving high salaries, will be required to pay an additional P92 per day per worker, that will kill the industry,” Go said.
He added that labor is still the highest cost for most small and medium enterprises and service companies.