Biz groups say no to proposed P150 wage hike
MANILA — Several of the country's largest business groups on Friday said they were opposing the proposed P150 minimum wage hike as it could trigger inflation, cause business closures and discourage foreign investors.
At the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City, Employers Confederation of the Philippines President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr said that while they sympathized with workers, the big wage hike might have a negative impact on the economy and benefit only a small percentage of workers.
Many small businesses, he said, are still recovering from the pandemic and may not be able to afford the salary hike that could also push up the prices of basic goods.
“Tataas nila presyo nila kung kaya pa ng merkado or magbabawas ng tao para makasunod sila. Kung hindi pwede yung dalawang yon, magsasara na lang,” Ortiz-Luis said.
(They will either raise their prices, if the market still can cope with this, or reduce their manpower. If neither of those two are feasible, they'll just close down.)
Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry President Cecilio Pedro agreed with ECOP saying its members would likely raise prices if the minimum wage is increased by P150.
They will have to find money to fund the wage hike on top of high electricity prices, weak peso, high interest rates and other challenges, he said.
“Pag yung costing tumaas, ipapasa namin sa produkto namin, ipapasa namin sa presyo. Sino mahihirapan eventually? Yung namimili, people buying our products,” Pedro said.
(If costing rises, we will pass this on. Who will suffer eventually? The customers.)
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon added what is needed by the country now is to attract foreign investments to create jobs.
Raising labor cost will not entice investors to come in, he said. In the garments industry, for example, 14,000 workers were laid off in the last 4 months, he said.
“Labor cost is one of the key input whether we are competitive or not,” Barcelon asserted.
Even Philippines Amalgamated Supermarkets Association President Steven Cua said that the P150 would have a negative impact, since a P40 hike was already recently implemented.
“For a store which has 50 employees, etong recent increase of P40 a day, we will need to sell another P100,000 or P150,000 additional just to cover the P40 per day increase for 50 employees. If you have 300 employees for bigger stores, you can imagine how much more we have to sell. And you don’t expect people just to buy that much all of a sudden," he said.
ECOP is calling for tripartite consultations instead of legislation wage increases.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said he was determined to push for the P150 wage hike through legislation due to inflation which is affecting Filipinos.
After slowing down for six months, inflation again quickened in August to 5.3 percent following increases in fuel and food prices