Friday, November 23, 2018

Fix wages nationwide, labor groups tell Duterte

As the P25 minimum wage increase for Metro Manila workers took effect on Thursday, labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and affiliates belonging to a coalition called Nagkaisa urged President Duterte to form a presidential commission that would study the creation of a national wage fixing mechanism.

In a statement, FFW said the P25 wage increase, approved by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board, was “latest proof of how wages fixed under the mechanism deepens inequality rather than eradicate chronic poverty.”


It said the group and other Nagkaisa affiliates believed “the meager increase simply fits into the 1989 template” created by Republic Act No. 6727, which bases wage increases on employers’ capacity to pay rather than on workers’ standard of living.

FFW said during the presidential election campaign, Duterte recognized that setting wages by regions was a failure.

“He himself announced the need to overhaul the system,” said Sonny Matula, FFW president.

“But until today, no executive action has been done so far to walk his pledge,” Matula added.

Another labor group, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), said workers were unable to feel the impact of the P25 wage increase because of inflation.

Purchasing power

Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson, said the purchasing power of P25 nowadays was just P17.50.

“It has no impact,” Tanjusay said.

The government, he added, should step in and fill the gap by giving workers a monthly food voucher worth at least P500.

Tanjusay said Duterte had “neither said yes nor no to our proposal.”

“So we remain hopeful,” he added. - By: Tina G. Santos - Reporter / @santostinaINQ

Monday, November 5, 2018

Labor coalition urges Duterte to fix ‘weak’ region-based wage-setting system

LEADERS of Nagkaisa, a coalition of over 40 of the biggest labor groups in the country, called on President Duterte to finally reform “weak” region-based wage fixing system.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the coalition said the reported P25-wage hike approved by the Regional Tripatite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) exposed the flaws in Republic Act (RA) 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989.

Nagkaisa said labor representatives in these boards are usually outvoted by three representatives from the government and two from employers in deciding the amount of the wage hike.

It said this usually result to a minimal wage hike for workers.

“It manifests a subdued or tamed bargaining power of labor in the RTWPB where representation is not in parity with employers and government representatives who hold the majority,” Nagkaisa said.

Nagkaisa Chairman and Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Jose Sonny G. Matula urged Duterte to fulfill his campaign promise of restoring the national minimum wage mechanism.

“There is a need to revise our law on minimum wage [fixing], which was placed under [the jurisdiction] of the regional wage boards in 1989,” Matula said.

Prior to RA 6727, it were lawmakers who decided on the minimum wage of workers nationwide.

Matula also appealed to include a provision of “industry-bargaining” approach in deciding minimum-wage rates.

Under the said scheme, minimum-wage rates will differ depending on industry rather than geographical location.

Nagkaisa expressed disappointment over the said P25-wage hike in NCR since it was way below the P334-wage hike being proposed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), which it also supports.

Last week Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III denied the P25-pay hike is already final. He said he will be announcing the official new amount of the minimum-wage increase in NCR in the morning of November 5.

TUCP Vice President Louie Corral warned a P25-wage hike in NCR will lead to a widespread industrial unrest. - By Samuel P. Medenilla