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Duterte urged to raise wages of workers; last big one was P25 in 1989

August 6, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) is urging President Rodrigo Duterte declare a nationwide across-the-board wage hike to raise the wages of workers amid falling purchasing power of daily pay and rising cost of living.

The call was made as the wage board is about to meet in this week to deliberate on a final new wage increase for minimum wage workers in Metro Manila, labor group and wage hike petitioner Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said yesterday.

“President Duterte can text or call the wage board and prod them the amount of wage increase that he desires and it will be done. The President can also issue a presidential executive order mandating a wage increase amount needed by workers and their families to cope and survive with the increasing prices of goods and service. The President has the variety of options to make a significant wage hike,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

Tanjusay said the workers had been desperate for a significant across-the-board wage increase for many years because the wage board have always been granting meager and pittance wage increases despite an improving economy.

“The last time the workers experienced a significant wage hike was in 1989 or 28 years ago when the late Pres. Cory Aquino gave a P25 daily across-the-board wage increase nationwide. After which, the wage board has been issuing pittance wage orders as if workers are beggars,” Tanjusay said.

The ALU-TUCP said workers’ wage should be P675 a day instead the current P491 daily pay for workers in the National Capital Region. The real value of P491 has eroded to P375 a day.

In a position paper they submitted Friday last week in the light of their petition for wage hike, the ALU-TUCP filed an across-the-board P184 daily wage increase petition for workers in the cities and municipalities of the National Capital Region on top of the existing legislated P491 daily minimum wage in a bid to uplift them from poverty caused by rising cost of living and eroding purchasing power of their daily wage.

The Board last year issued Wage Order No. NCR-20 effective June 2, 2016 granting a Ten Pesos (P10.00) COLA per day. Before this, on 6 September 2013 granting Ten Pesos (P10) per day increase in basic wage effective 4 October 2013 and the integration of the Fifteen Pesos (P15.00) of the Thirty Pesos (P30.00) cost-of-living allowance (COLA) under W.O. No. NCR-17 effective 1 January 2014; (2) W.O. No. NCR – 19 on 16 March 2015, or more than a year ago, that granted Fifteen Pesos (P15) daily increase in the existing basic wage effective 4 April 2015.

However, the said increases, small and inadequate as they were, have been overtaken by increases in electricity and water rates, health and education costs, the prices of oil and its products, LPG, and basic goods and services.

And that despite the gains in the economy and productivity, workers and their families have not been granted a single peso in real wage increase since 1989, the petition said.

According to government official figures, as of April 2017, the purchasing power of the legislated P491 daily minimum wage in NCR is only P357.09, eroded by 27.3%.

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