Labor group calls for P500 food subsidy

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Photo from alu.org.ph

The country’s biggest labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) has sought President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of their proposed P500 government food subsidy for minimum wage earners nationwide.

According to the group, the countrywide minimum wage hike is still inadequate to cope with the increasing prices of goods and services. It called on the government to step in and address the continuing inflationary impact by providing a P500 monthly food voucher, a non-transferable subsidy to be given initially to an estimated four million minimum wage earners.

The government should now step in and also provide help. Government should do its part by helping and providing a life-saver through non-cash food voucher subsidies to help and save minimum-waged workers’ drift from poverty to poverty.

“On the average, wage boards acted only on the capacity of employers and businesses to afford the wage increases by adjusting the nominal minimum wage rates by P32 to P36 a day nationwide. This is too small for workers who help business and economy grow,” said ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay.

Employers and businesses, he said, were ungenerous by dictating paltry wage adjustments.

“The government should now step in and also provide help. Government should do its part by helping and providing a life-saver through non-cash food voucher subsidies to help and save minimum-waged workers’ drift from poverty to poverty,” he added.

According to ALU-TUCP, the nationwide average daily minimum wage of P232 is too inadequate for millions of poorly paid entry-level, rank-and-file and contractualized minimum-waged workers nationwide in the agriculture, services and manufacturing sector who are main drivers of the country’s high and competitive economic growth in the Asian region.

“These types of workers with labor-intensive jobs need at least P800 to P850 a day in order to live above the poverty threshold and cope with rising inflation and remain productive at work,” ALU-TUCP said.

To recall, the National Wages and Productivity Commission said all 16 regional wage boards across the country have issued wage orders since January this year adjusting the minimum wage rates in the region except for CARAGA which remains at P311 minimum daily wage.

The Metro Manila wage board is the most recent regional wage board which adjusted the wage rate from P512 to P537 last week raising the average daily nominal minimum, wage rates in 17 regions nationwide from P200 a day in September this year to P232 a day as of 11 November 2018.

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