Tell it to SunStar: A national minimum wage is best

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

By Partido Manggagawa Cebu spokesman Dennis Derige

The proposal of Third District Manila Rep. Joel Chua to replace the current wage regionalization scheme with a wage clustering system is welcome in the sense that it is founded on a recognition of the failures of the existing wage fixing system and thus opens a window for a discussion of a better mechanism. Wage clustering is better than regionalization but one national minimum wage is best.

We agree, as Representative Chua asserts, that wage regionalization has led to a huge gap between wages of regions that are not substantiated by differences in cost of living, and also has led to complexity in implementation as the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) has to monitor almost 50 minimum wages across the country. For this reason, we are pushing for a national minimum wage as a floor. Differences between actual wages should be based on seniority, skills and productivity.

Also, while we insist that a replacement to the wage regionalization mechanism is also overdue, let us not lose sight of the immediate demand for a P150 across-the-board legislated wage recovery.

We are advocating for an “Apat na Dapat” in regard to the wage issue at the moment:

1. P150 across-the-board wage increase to recover wage loss due to inflation (immediate);

2. Non-wage benefits to enhance take-home pay (for example: suspension of Philhealth contributions, reduction in withholding taxes for fixed income earners, social security subsidies etc.);

3. Review and amend Republic Act 6727 (Wage Rationalization Act of 1989) with the end in view of having uniform wage rates and satisfying the constitutional mandate of granting workers a living wage;

4. Enhance wage and benefits setting through collective bargaining negotiations by implementing the recommendations of the International Labor Organization’s High-Level Tripartite Mission so that workers can exercise freedom of association without harassment and intimidations, and unwarranted regulations.


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