Labor groups: Wage increase is now a widely accepted proposal

Because of the continuous rise in the prices of basic commodities and petroleum products, the request for a wage hike has become a widely accepted proposal, according to representatives of different labor groups.

“Any amount or a bigger amount that may be need to support workers should not be a cause for debate,” Wilson Fortaleza of the Partido Manggagawa said in a mix of English and Filipino at a forum on Saturday. “It’s no longer an issue wehther or not workers’ salaries should be increased.”

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) had warned that inflation might reach more than 5 percent this coming month, Fortaleza pointed out..

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is pushing for a P320 accross-the-board increase in the minimum wage for the private sector, which would raise mimimum daily pay between P576 and P832.

READ: P320 across-the-board pay hike urged

On the other hand, the Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives is urging government to set the minimum wage at P750 nationwide.

READ: Makabayan bloc seeks P750-minimum wage nationwide
P512 can’t feed a family of five

According to Jerome Adonis of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), the recently set minimum wage for Metro Manila, which is at P512, cannot suffice for a family of five.

“What can you buy at the present salary? You can only buy noodles, sardines. Even dried fish has become expensive,” Adonis said.

He issued a challenge to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque to accompany them to the markert with just P512.

“Let’s find out if this amount will be enough for the needs of a single family,” Adonis said.

He also refuted the claim that increasing the minimum wage would be disastrous for the economy as more people would be jobless and prices would surge upwards.

“It’s not true,” he said.

“They said the prices of goods will rise,” he added. “For the record, even if we don’t ask for a wage hike, the prices of key good and services will continue to rise.”

On the contrary, he said, a higher take-home pay would allow workers, especially the poor, to buy more goods – which in turn would power the economy. /atm

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