PH workers sought $8.99 wage hike, gov't grants $0.63 increase

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2022 09:23 AM

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MANILA – Is a 33-peso (approximately US$0.63) daily wage increase enough for workers in Metro Manila? 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said the P537 (approximately $10.27) daily minimum wage in the capital region may no longer be enough due to rising food and fuel prices. 

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines sought a P470 (approximately US$8.99) increase in the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila to increase it to P1,007 ($19.25).

Instead, the regional wage board granted a P33 (US$0.63) increase for minimum-wage earners, bumping up the regional rate for non-agricultural jobs to P570 (US$10.90).

The National Wages and Productivity Commission on Friday said many factors are taken into consideration when deciding on pay hikes for workers including the workers' needs and the capacity of employers to pay.

“Ang pagtatakada po ng minimum wage ay nakasalalay sa sampung criteria, na kung susumahin natin ay kumakatawan sa tatlong bagay: yung una yung pangangailangan ng ating mga manggagawa at kanyang pamilya, yung kapasidad ng mga mamumuhunan na makapagbayad ng suweldo, at yung socio-economic environment natin specially yung ating development plan,” said NWPC chief Maria Criselda Sy.

(The decision on minimum wage hikes is dependent on 10 criteria, which can be summed up in 3 categories: workers' needs, employer's capacity to pay, and the country's socio-economic environment.)

“So, bagamat yung petition ay malaki kaysa sa naaprubahan ng board, hindi lang nga ito yung kailangan natin. Yung--kumbaga yung pangangailangan ng ating mga manggagawa ay hindi lang yun yung basehan kundi ibabangga natin ito doon sa employers’ capacity to pay atsaka kung ito ba ay makakaapekto doon sa development plan ng ating bansa,” she explained.

(So even if the wage hike petitioned is higher than what was granted, that's not the only factor we're looking at. We don't just look at the employees' needs. We also look at the employer's capacity to pay and whether or not the wage hike will affect the country's development plan.)

Some minimum wage earners have said that the approved pay hikes will not be enough for them.

Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa called the P33 wage increase in Metro Manila a "pittance and woefully inadequate." 

"It is not even enough to allow workers to recover the lost value of their wages," it added.

Sy said workers can petition for another wage hike if they feel like they need it.

“Ang life po ng ating wage order ay isang taon. But anytime within the year, kung sa tingin po ng mga petitioners ay kailangan po nilang maghain ng petition sa ating board, pwede naman po iyon.”

(The life of a wage order is one year. But anytime within the year, if the workers think they need to file a petition, they can do so.)

Aside from Metro Manila, workers in Western Visayas, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Caraga have also been granted an increase in minimum wages.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, however, has said that micro-enterprises should be exempt from the hike in the minimum wage.

--TeleRadyo, 20 May 2022