TUCP: Employers’ stance against wage hike ‘overkill’

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, whose representative in the Lower House has filed a bill proposing a P150 wage increase for workers, blasted the statement made by eight business groups last week against the wage hike, calling it an “overkill on the poor workers.”

“It is unfortunate that both employers and economic managers are now ganging up in an ‘overkill’ on the poor workers’ calls to bring up measly real wages to at least be within the poverty threshold. These employers and economic managers are now fearmongering widespread closure of MSMEs and scenarios of spiking inflation should a wage increase be granted,” TUCP vice president Luis Corral said.

The statement in question was signed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines and the United Portusers Confederation of the Philippines, Inc.

They insisted that only 16 percent of the labor workforce will benefit from a wage hike, while the remaining number of Filipino workers — all in informal labor — will demand more “ayuda” or government’ aid, and that it will also affect many businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.

Corral called such statements a “scare-mongering” tactic, and urged them to join in providing the needed help for workers amid challenging economic conditions.

“The call for wage increase months ago should have been a wake-up call to the economic managers to save the rapidly deteriorating situation of a majority of the working poor,” Corral said.

“Contrary to the argument of resultant MSME closures, the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises and certain retail enterprises are exempt from the minimum wage law. The truth is this ‘massive closure’ argument is actually camouflage to benefit big employers as there is enough support available for MSMEs, including the increase in consumption that comes with wage increase,” he added.

The TUCP has already filed House Bill No. 7871 or the Wage Recovery Act of 2023, which seeks a wage hike that would recover from what it said was the more than three decades of no significant wage increase since the passage of Republic Act Number 6727 or the “Wage Rationalization Act.”

A Senate counterpart of the measure is Senate Bill Number 2002, filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, which TUCP backed.

The group also reiterated its other proposals such as having more Kadiwa outlets that would lessen food inflation, reducing the weighted average cost of capital in electricity sources by eight percent, and returning to the original return-on-rate-base in electricity value.

The TUCP also proposed a P5,000 one-time government financial aid to minimum wage workers and the instatement of the emergency cost-of-living allowance.

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