Wednesday, January 7, 2015

BPO workers decry MRT rate hike for negating tax exemption

Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW)
January 7, 2015

A BPO workers association added its voice to groups opposing the MRT and LRT fare hikes and avers that the rate increase will negate the expected benefit coming from tax exemption of de minimis benefits.
According to the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW), ordinary workers, BPO employees included, who make up the bulk of regular train riders in the MRT and LRT systems in Metro Manila will bear the brunt of the onerous rate.
“The new tax exemption on de minimis is welcome news to millions of low-waged workers.  But the impending MRT rate hike is definitely a spoiler,” said ICCAW-NCR spokesman Bryan Nadua.
He also lamented the fact that Malacanang has yet to sign the measure although it has already been announced. “The government is fast in imposing burdens on the workers but slow to act on benefits for the employees,” Nadua added.
An additional exemption of up to P10,000 can be availed by workers who enjoy extra economic benefits coming from collective bargaining agreements and productivity schemes.  The de minimis tax exemption has been a demand of labor groups grouped under Nagkaisa in dialogues with Malacanang.
Nadua said the amount of exemption is almost equivalent to the fare hike that will be imposed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) upon train riders beginning January 4.
A two-way adjusted rate of P28 per day in the MRT is equivalent to more or less P10,000 in one year, ICCAW stated, lamenting that the fare hike is cancelling out the benefits of the new tax exemption.
“Kung ano ang ibibigay ni Kim Henares sa kabilang bulsa, kukunin ni Joseph Abaya sa kabila,” insisted Nadua.
Labor groups like Nagkaisa are opposed to the planned rate increases in MRT and LRT, saying the railway system which is being enjoyed by millions of low-waged workers should remain subsidized by the State.

ICCAW, which was first organized in Cebu City in 2012, is calling for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits, and entitlements that must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.

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