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Unions assail delay in wage hike.

Organized labor on Sunday accused the government and employers of delaying the release of a new wage hike order.

'As inflation continues to overtake real wages, the wage board is becoming more obsolete and irrelevant to the needs of the workers because it has been delaying for several weeks now the announcement of a new wage order,' said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson for the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).

P184 raise

The group filed with the wage board on June 6 a wage increase petition for a P184 increase in the daily wage to restore the purchasing power of workers of P491.

The board held the required public consultations with employers and labor groups on Aug. 7.

'The board is showing bias and preference in favor of abusive employers and capitalists by delaying and changing the pattern of wage increases. They should be held responsible [for] the poverty experienced by workers. The wage board is causing the misery of the people,' Tanjusay said.

Quoting government data, the labor leader said 6 million minimum wage earners in Metro Manila needed a significant wage increase to cope with the sharp rise in the cost of living.

According to Tanjusay, the purchasing power of the P491 daily minimum wage in Metro Manila has been eroded to P357, an erosion of 27 percent as of May 2017.

'During the recent wage hike petition consultations, the [National Economic and Development Authority] said the amount needed by a family of five to survive [for] one month is P9,064 for the year 2015. However, with the 27-percent erosion of [the] daily [wage because of] the 3-percent to 4-percent inflation rate in March, minimum wage earners live extremely below the poverty standard,' he said.

Millions in poverty

'With the 27-percent erosion of the current daily minimum wage rate, we surmise that, as of today, there are millions of workers, including their dependents, who are deeply mired in poverty because they cannot cope with high prices of goods and services,' Tanjusay said.

'They need a significant wage increase. But if the wage board is delaying the decision [on] a wage increase, it is a very serious matter altogether,' he added.

The National Capital Region wage board is composed of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic and Development Authority, Employers' Confederation of the Philippines and the labor sector.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Sep 4, 2017
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