ECOP sees no problem reviewing minimum wage but says informal sector won't benefit

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2022 06:07 PM

Members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) hold a “price hike protest” at the San Roque Public Market in Quezon City on March 4, 2022. The group is calling on the government to impose a price control on goods and higher wages for workers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file
Members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) hold a “price hike protest” at the San Roque Public Market in Quezon City on March 4, 2022. The group is calling on the government to impose a price control on goods and higher wages for workers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Saturday said while they do not have any problems reviewing workers' current minimum wage, only a small number of employees would benefit from it.

ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luiz, Jr. said there is a "compelling reason" to review the current minimum wage but "false expectations" hound ordinary workers. 

Luiz said even if the minimum wage will be raised, only workers in the formal sector would gain from this. This accounts around 16 percent of some 44 million workers in the country, he noted. 

"Iyong nasa informal sector, iyan ‘yung karamihan ng ating mga manggagawa – nandiyan na iyong mga farm workers, nandiyan na iyong mga tricycle drivers, mga market vendors, mga small business, family business – na wala naman silang mga employer," he noted.

"Eighty-four percent nandoon sa informal sector na ‘pag naggalaw ka ng minimum wage, hindi sila apektado," he added. 

Based on the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) website, the current minimum wage rates in the National Capital Region is between P500 to P537, while this is lower in other areas. 

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines this week said that minimum wage employees only earn around P12,000 monthly.

HOW ABOUT MSMEs 

Luiz said that micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would also have difficulty in implementing the increased minimum wage, as some have yet to recover from the impact of COVID-19. 

"Iyong micro, there is no way that they can pay it. Iyong some of the bigger ones eh baka, some of them are even paying more than minimum wage ‘no at saka mga maraming mga bonuses diyan, iyon ang problema," he said. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has pushed the price of fuel upwards, with the cost of diesel estimated to rise by P11.80 to P12 per liter next week, while gasoline could soar by P6.90 to P7.20 per liter. 

Kerosene, meanwhile, could go up by P9.70 to P9.80 per liter, industry sources said. Local industry players feared that the increase in gas prices may cause a price spike in basic commodities. 

To respond to the rising cost of fuel, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the release of P3 billion fuel subsidy and discount vouchers for transport drivers, farmers, and fisherfolk. 

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