September 1, 2018
QUEZON CITY – THE buying power of workers standard daily minimum pay in the private sector nationwide fell to P200 a day beginning today, according to monitoring by workers group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
Without a serious government social safety program in place and a significant wage increase to address the worsening economic depression, a decreasing buying power of wage bears harmful effect to workers’ health and capacity to produce quality goods and services needed by employers and business owners to thrive.
In their monitoring and evaluation of the inflation versus the daily minimum wage, ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said the average total daily minimum wage nationwide fell today to P200 a day effective this week from P208.83 in June 2018.
In June 2018, the total average of different daily minimum wage rates across the country was P335 and its equivalent buying power is P208.83.
In April 2018, the total average rate of various daily minimum wage rates nationwide was P330.47 and its equivalent buying power to buy goods and pay for services was P208.38 a day. In October last year, P327 and its equivalent capacity to buy goods and pay for services is P212.45 a day.
“What can workers buy for him and for his family nowadays with the value of his minimum pay of P200 a day?” Tanjusay said warning: “without government and employers interventions, this amount will go down further next month.”
According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the amount needed by a family of five in order to live decently is P44,000 a month or P1,400 a day.
The segment of work force already affected by the crisis are those entry-level, rank-and-file, contractual, short-term, and Endo (end-of-contract) employees receiving minimum pay working in manufacturing and services sector.
However, the most heavily affected segment of workers by high inflation and decreasing purchasing power are those 11 million unemployed and those 15.6 million workers working in the informal economy.
“The unemployed obviously are scraping what’s left at rock bottom and very susceptible to any means to survive. While workers in the informal economy – since they have no fixed income – are also very insecure,” Tanjusay said.
With this, the group expects a lower output contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by workers affected by shrinking value of their pay and continuously rising prices.
The shrinking value of their salary, the group says, impacted the workers health and their productivity particularly their capacity to produce quality goods and services needed by employers and business owners to prosper.
“With the poor workers option to buy quality and nutritious food for him and for his family has been decreasing, expect an unhappy and less productive employees in the weeks ahead. Take note that these very vulnerable segment of workers are already have no security of tenure, no fixed income, inadequate social protection benefits and confronted by difficult and stressful external forces,” said Tanjusay.
TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza has filed a bill in the House of the Representatives seeking a P320 a day across-the-board wage increase for workers in manufacturing, agriculture and service sectors.
The ALU-TUCP has also sought government for a P500 monthly grocery subsidy for minimum wage earners to help them cope with rising inflation and eroding wages.
The group also has petitioned the 17 regional wage boards nationwide to increase workers’ pay by P320 a day. However, only nine regional wage boards have made wage adjustments since May this year ranging from P10 to P56 a day on installment basis.