Amidst the controversy over the wage hike for Metro Manila workers, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse a national minimum wage instead of the present system of regional salaries.
“In a dialogue with labor groups in 2017, the President denounced what he called ‘provincial wages’ and expressed preference for a nationwide minimum wage. Given the delay in the NCR wage order and further with inflation untamed, now is the time for President Duterte to turn mere words into decisive action,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.
There is yet no wage order for workers in the NCR as the P25 hike was called unofficial by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines said last Tuesday that the NCR wage board had agreed on a P25 salary increase for minimum wage earners.
The alleged P25 wage increase has already been slammed by labor groups as too small to compensate for the erosion in workers’ wages due to inflation. PM’s cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day.
“We urge President Duterte to abolish regional wages as he had promised and endorse a national minimum wage based on a living wage. Since the President expressed disgust at provincial wages, he apparently knows that the policy of wage regionalization started in 1989 has led to the cheapening of labor. An evaluation of the policy performance of wage regionalization will show that it has consistently resulted in measly salary hikes that are below inflation rates and disregards economic growth” Fortaleza insisted.
He explained that “There are about a hundred minimum wages in the country that are different not just across regions but even across cities and municipalities in industrial areas as Calabarzon and Central Luzon. Wage differentials vary greatly. For example, the difference between the NCR rate of P512 and the ARMM rate of P280 is a whopping 45%. Yet the cost of living is not significantly different across regions, cities and municipalities. What kind of system is this!”
“A national minimum wage should not just be indexed to inflation but also to productivity. Real wages have not risen from 2001 to 2016 even as labor productivity has grown by 50% in that period. In other words, the pie has become bigger but workers have not received crumbs even. Instead employers have greedily taken all the increase in size of the pie. Workers have been denied their fair share in the fruits of production,” Fortaleza ended.
November 3, 2018