Labor group backs senator’s call for minimum wage policy review
A LABOR group on Thursday said it supports a senator’s resolution that seeks to review existing policies on adjusting minimum wage, citing the need to ensure a decent standard of living for workers.
“Labor has been asking for such a review for the longest time,” Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) Secretary-General Josua T. Mata said in a Viber message.
“What we now need is a 3-tiered wage setting mechanism where you have a national minimum wage that serves as a safety net for all workers and their families,” he added.
The Philippines has a two-tiered wage system, wherein tier 1 covers the minimum wage setting and the second a voluntary productivity-based pay scheme, according to the labor department.
Minimum wage rates vary per region as set by regional tripartite boards, subject to the labor secretary’s concurrence.
Wage boards are studying the need for more wage hikes amid the soaring prices of basic goods, Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma said earlier.
Wage boards can only act on wage petitions a year after a region’s last wage order.
On Monday, Senator Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo called for a review on basic pay setting, saying the P33 wage hike implemented last year in Metro Manila is not enough for workers to cope with soaring inflation.
“It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that the minimum wage is set at a level that provides workers with a decent standard of living, taking into account factors such as inflation rates,” Mr. Tulfo said under Senate Resolution 476.
Mr. Mata said the state should ensure that trade unions are allowed to bargain for their wages instead of living off what he called “poverty wages.”
The International Labor Organization has said inflation continues to reduce the purchasing power of minimum wage workers.
The consumer price index quickened to a record high of 8.7% in January from 8.1% in December, marking the highest in 14 years or since 9.1% in November 2008. — John Victor D. Ordoñez