The P25 wage hike for Metro Manila workers was criticized by the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) as a “Halloween trick that will result in a libing wage instead of a living wage.” The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) announced that the NCR wage board had agreed on the amount although Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello did not confirm the alleged decision.
“Whether P20 or P25, the wage hike for NCR workers is an epic fail and falls below all expectations by workers,” insisted Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of PM. The group’s cost of living estimate for a family of five in Metro Manila is around P1,300 a day, more than double the current minimum wage of P512.
“First, P25 is short by 30% to make up for the P35.84 erosion in wages due to the 7% inflation in the NCR recorded in August this year. This means real wages or the amount of goods and services that workers can buy has fallen even with a wage hike,” Fortaleza explained.
He added that “Second, employers still owe workers for the stagnation in real wages despite 50% productivity growth from 2001 to 2016. Even if the NCR wage board had ordered a P35.84 wage hike, it still means real wages are just frozen. But workers should partake of a just share in the fruits of production as mandated by the Constitution.”
“A concrete example of this injustice is the plight of workers of the cigarette giant Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC). Workers met all their key performance indicators and yet 310 employees were retrenched in August. The Lucio Tan group of companies reported a total income of P 3.63B for the first quarter of this year and 65 percent or P 2.35B came from PMFTC. The company’s reward for increased labor productivity was mass layoff!,” Fortaleza said.
He averred that “Finally, President Duterte has broken his promise to abolish what he calls provincial wages. Instead his administration is reaffirming the disastrous policy of wage regionalization. Cost of living is not significantly different across regions and cities but wage differentials vary greatly and by as much as 45% (the difference between the NCR rate of P512 and the ARMM rate of P280). Like ending endo, abolition of regional wages lies in the heap of Duterte’s broken promises.”
November 1, 2018