TUCP to seek P135 wage hike

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2014 05:21 PM | Updated as of May 01 2014 08:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines will seek a P135 hike in the daily minimum wage for workers in Metro Manila.

The TUCP said that the amount is based on the Consumer Price Index of March 2014 and will help workers cope with rising cost of basic goods and services, particularly power and fuel.

They will cite so-called "supervening events" to ask for the new minimum wage increase in Metro Manila, before the one year ban has expired.

The proposed increase would raise the minimum wage in Metro Manila to P601 a day from the current P466 a day.

The Metro Manila wage board raised minimum pay in September last year. Regional wage boards are only allowed to deliberate on a wage increase one year after the most recent one.

TUCP said it will finalize the documents before filing the wage hike petition within May.

For the regions, the TUCP also released these preliminary wage hike petition figures:

CAR - P95
Region 1 - P76
Region 2 - P100
Region 3 - P129
Region 4A - P128
Region 4B - P111
Region 5 - P109
Region 6 - P118
Region 7 - P135
Region 8 - P124
Region 9 - P135
Region 10 - P151
Region 11 - P129
Region 12 - P122
Region 13 - P146
ARMM - P126

Meanwhile, employers expressed doubts about the feasibility of TUCP's plan to file a P135 daily wage hike petition.

"Saan natin kukunin?" asked Sergio Ortiz-Luis, acting president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.

Echoing the stance of President Aquino on wage hike asked by government workers, Ortiz-Luis said once wages are increased, a sector or a portion of the workforce suffers since employers will have to find ways to raise more money to cover the salary increase.

According to Ortiz Luis, only 14% of the labor force who are employed in the formal sector as minimum wage earners are going to benefit.

But ECOP says it will wait for the formal filing and deal with it at the wage board level and even in Congress.

'No reason to celebrate'

In a press conference, labor coalition NAGKAISA, which includes various workers organization like TUCP, also lambasted the Aquino administration for its alleged inability to improve the plight of laborers.

"There's no reason to celebrate (labor day) but more reason to demonstate," said Renato Magtubo, president of the Partido ng Manggagawa.

The coalition cited the issue of tax breaks where it asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to exempt workers who are earning slightly higher than the minimum wage. It had also asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a task force to study ways to bring down electricity rates. These were turned down by the concerned agencies.

"Buti pa si Obama, 2 araw lang bumisita, may nakuha. Kami bokya," said Leody de Guzman, president of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

The NAGKAISA coalition will march to Mendiola on Thursday starting at 7 a.m. to denounce the administration's perceived lack of care for the labor sector.