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Union proposes P100 minimum wage hike for Metro Manila

PHILIPPINE STAR/ ANDY G. ZAPATA JR.

A TRADE UNION has filed a petition seeking a P100 increase in the daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) to help workers deal with inflation.

The Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa (Kapatiran) filed its petition on Monday before the NCR wage board.

“The minimum wage laborer in NCR is not being paid enough to keep up with the average expenses of the individual in their income class,” it said.

Citing 2018 data, Kapatiran said minimum wage workers in Metro Manila who work five days a week earn P11,400 monthly, significantly lower than their average monthly expenses of P15,666.

“The average inflation rate in the Philippines during that time was 5.2% for the entire 12 months, which was surpassed (in the first 10 months of) 2022, averaging 5.4%,” it said. Such levels of inflation, it added, make it difficult to live on the current minimum wage rate of P570.00 per day.

Headline inflation rose to 7.7% in October from 6.9% a month earlier. November inflation likely hit 7.8%, according to a BusinessWorld poll of economists conducted last week.

“The P570 minimum wage in NCR lost P76.00 of its value when adjusted for the current CPI (consumer price index) and shall diminish further due to untamed inflation,” Kapatiran said.

“Moreover, even prior to this year’s supervening events, minimum wage rates have long been at starvation levels.”

In 2021, at least P12,030 was needed to meet a household’s “barest” food and non-food requirements, the group said.

“Evidently, minimum wages fall below this poverty threshold and are way too far from achieving a living wage as provided under the Constitution.”

Earlier this month, the Labor Education and Research Network said P76 has been eroded from the P570 minimum wage in the capital region due to price gains. Daily pay was worth P494 as of October, it noted.

The Metro Manila wage board imposed a P33 minimum wage hike in June 2022. Wage boards cannot act on wage petitions until after the anniversary of the last wage order.

“The present NCR rate… constitutes a measly 10% of the Filipinos’ dream for a ‘simple and comfortable life’ defined by [the] NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) in 2015,” Kapatiran said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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