By Leslie Ann Aquino
The labor group Partido Manggagawa on Thursday said the ongoing public hearings being conducted by the National Capital Region regional wage board is but a farce.
PM Chairman Rene Magtubo said it is a farce as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines have already agreed on “a P20 alms to workers.”
He said such P20 wage offer by employers is “an insult to hardworking Filipinos.”
The proposed wage hike, Magtubo said will not make a dent in group’s daily cost of living estimate of P1,300.
“Wage regionalization has been weaponized in the employers’ war to cheapen wages and increase profits. An evaluation of the policy performance of wage regionalization that started in 1989 will show that it has consistently resulted in measly salary hikes that are below inflation rates and disregards economic growth,” he said in a statement.
A cost of living survey by PM found that a family of five in the National Capital Region needs P1,300 daily or P39,000 monthly to live decently as of May.
Based on the said study, the amount of P3,150 monthly is needed to buy daily 2.5 kilos of the cheapest commercial rice at P42. Of the P39,000 monthly budget, 44% is earmarked for food and 56% for non-food. Utilities like electricity, water and cooking gas make up 8%, house rent 15%, transportation expenses 11% and education needs 13% of the total budget.
“Our cost of living study is, in fact, an underestimation as it does not provide for leisure and recreation, savings or social security which should comprise 10% as a standard or for a house help which is a necessity if the government insists that both parents must work to sustain the family,” Magtubo said.
He insisted that “the focus now is on worsening inflation that has eroded workers’ nominal wages. But hardly noticed is the growing inequality due to the stagnation of real wages while productivity is booming.”
“From 2001 to 2016, labor productivity grew by at least 50 percent, yet the real wages did not grow at all. Workers have been denied their fair share in the fruits of production,” he said.