Current NCR minimum wage only worth P235: Gov’t urged to raise wages to decent level

The minimum wage has been unchanged in NCR since September 2008 and Filipino workers are in effect bearing the burden of adjustment to the current global crisis.

As wage boards deliberate on the wage increase for Metro Manila workers, research group IBON urges government to approximate the wage hike to the estimated family living wage, especially since the value of the P382-minimum wage in NCR is now only worth P235.

NCR workers are expected to receive a salary increase this week, but the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) has hinted that this may be lower than the increases petitioned by labor groups. The moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) petitioned for a P75-increase, while Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) unions have been calling for a P125-hike.

Based on 2000 prices, the minimum wage has eroded to P235 due to inflation, and has made the value even less than the daily NCR minimum wage in November 2000 of P250. By now the family living wage is likely already twice the daily minimum wage, and a P125-increase will not even make up for inflation that has eroded real incomes over the last three years. Latest family living wage estimate from NWPC was already P917 in NCR in September 2008, or a shortfall of P535.

The minimum wage has been unchanged in NCR since September 2008 and Filipino workers are in effect bearing the burden of adjustment to the current global crisis. Other minimum wages have likewise been unchanged since 2008 and range from a low of P196 (Region V) to a high of P320 Region IV-A).

Record unemployment and dismally poor wages are among the most important reasons behind increasing poverty in recent years, and these are solid reasons for a wage hike of a decent level, IBON said. It also highlights the importance of shifting from a foreign investment and export led growth model to a more equitable wage-consumption-and domestically driven development path. (end)

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