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Wage earners get P33 daily relief

The P33 wage increase is a pittance and woefully inadequate. It is not even enough to allow workers to recover the lost value of their wages

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Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on Unsplash

Workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) will get P33 per day or nearly P1,000 per month in additional pay after the regional wage board approved an increase in the minimum wage in response to rising prices.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-NCR has issued Wage Order NCR-23 last Friday.

The order raised the minimum wage rate to P570 for non-agriculture workers and P533 for agriculture workers.

“It is expected to protect around 1 million minimum wage earners in private establishments in the region from undue low pay. The increase considered the restoration of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners because of the escalating prices of basic goods, commodities, and petroleum products,” the DoLE said.

The last time the minimum wage in the NCR was increased was in November 2018.

The RTWPB-Western Visayas has similarly issued Wage Order RBVI-26 which approved a P55 to P110 wage increase for workers in the non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments depending on their workforce.

The salary hike brought the daily minimum wage in the region to P450 for those employing more than 10 workers and P420 for firms with 10 or less workers.

Also, the board granted a P95 increase in the agriculture sector to bring the daily minimum wage to P410 a day.

Victory for workers

According to DoLE, there are 160,795 workers who will benefit from the wage hike.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said in a statement that the wage increases were granted after a continuous dialogue with laborers and employers.

“Although small and still insufficient, compared with the very high prices of basic commodities, the wage increases in Metro Manila and Western Visayas were a success for workers,” the KMU said.

The labor group called on all regional wage boards to adjust minimum wages.

They also called on the 19th Congress to give priority to the passage of the bill seeking to grant a P750 national minimum wage.

Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa Secretary-General Josua Mata described the wage increase, however, as a “pittance and woefully inadequate.”

“The P33 wage increase is a pittance and woefully inadequate. It is not even enough to allow workers to recover the lost value of their wages,” he said.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), meanwhile, said the wage hikes are “too little and too late” for workers who continue to exist below the poverty line.

TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said the wage increase orders were momentarily a good news but such increases were too little and too insignificant and has little impact on workers and their families.

“The insignificance of the amount and too much delay in the wage hike orders show the need for a major revision of the 33-year-old minimum wage setting in the country,” Mendoza said.

Labor leader and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino chairperson Leody de Guzman said the orders showed the rotten character of the regional wage-fixing mechanisms.

“The order of wage boards in NCR and Western Visayas is fresh evidence of the rottenness of regional wage-fixing mechanisms. The fight for the national wage and the abolition of provincial rates continues. Requests included in the election discourse due to the running of labor leaders. It is time for the demands embraced by the voters during the election to become a material force,” De Guzman said.

“The scope of this request is no longer just in the wage boards but in Congress and the Senate through legislation. The mandate of wage boards is limited only to set the minimum wage, and there is a one-year ban before the next wage order is issued,” he added.

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