Party-list group files petition for wage hike

A PARTY-LIST group has filed a petition before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Davao City asking for a P80 wage increase for workers in the Davao Region.

"We filed due to increasing prices of basic commodities, the skyrocketing cost of electricity which will increase from P1.80 to P4 per kilowatt hour due to the current power crisis in Mindanao, the increasing cost of water, the ever-expensive cost of education and healthcare, and the current election spending which is inflationary,” lawyer Raymond C. Mendoza, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) representative, said in a statement.

Mendoza said the increase would give workers a "fair share in the region's economic development."

The current daily minimum wage is P300.

In a four-page petition, Mendoza and ALU-TUCP national vice president for education and TUCP Workers' college executive director Eva Arcos said the wage increase petition is based on: P13.09 from the actual increase in CPI; P19.57 from the projected change in the cost of living especially with the expected repercussions of the power crisis in Mindanao, with P2-4/kwh increase in power rates, increasing tuition, transport fares, health care costs and the inflationary effects of election spending; and P48 from the P2 per year share in Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) since 1989 that there were no increases in real wage.

Mendoza also cited the Fitch Ratings, which upgraded the economy to investment-grade (BB+ from BB-) -- a vote of confidence in the Philippine economy.

"This is the right time to grant wage increase when the economy is good as government data shows. Workers cannot be denied of an increase now. The fruits of our booming economy should not only be enjoyed by a few, 40 rich families. We do not ask for lavish increase. We only ask for what is due our workers," he said.

Based on their data, the region’s GRDP in 2011 was P408, 449,530 (in thousand pesos at current prices) and grew by 10.6 percent in 2010 and by 9.8 percent in 2011.

According to them, Davao region was fifth highest contributor to the country’s GDP coming after National Capital Region, Calabarzon region, Central Luzon region and Central Visayas region.

Arcos said that according to government statistics, as of March 2013, the current daily minimum wage of P301 had a buying capacity of only P216.24.

She said a minimum wage earners’ daily take home pay is at the most only about P266.66 after deductions of SSS, Philhealth and Pag-Ibig contributions and the withholding tax.

"It is not true a wage increase will shun away investors. It is not the issue. The business sector themselves admit that it is power rates that drives away investors which make up about 45 percent of the actual cost of doing business in the country – not labor," Mendoza said.

Last year, the RTWPB issued Wage Order XI-17, approving a measly P15 increase in Cola to all minimum wage earners in the private sector, P5 effective January 1, 2012, and P10 effective May 1, 2012 amid TUCP's P75 wage increase petition.

Mendoza said the filing of wage increase petition is TUCP’s annual tradition to honor and thank our workers on or before the Labor Day celebration on May 1. (Arianne Caryl N. Casas)
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