Wage hikes under Aquino smallest since 1990s

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Research group IBON said that unless the Aquino administration gives a wage hike before its term ends, it will have given the smallest wage hikes of any administration in the past 24 years. Wage repression is among the biggest reasons why recent rapid growth has been exclusionary and benefiting elites rather than the majority of Filipinos, said IBON.

The Aquino administration hiked the minimum wage five times since coming into power at the end of June 2010. The daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) correspondingly rose from Php404 in July 2010 to Php481 today, or an increase of just Php77. The NCR has the highest minimum wage among all the regions in the country but this is still less than half the family living wage of some Php1,090 today.

According to IBON, the nominal Php77 increase over the Aquino administration’s six years will be equivalent to an average of just Php12.83 per year. This is less than the average Php16.35 per year over Arroyo’s nine-and-a-half years, Php20.13 over Estrada’s two-and-a-half years, and Php13.33 over Ramos’ six years. It is also only slightly more than the Php12.79 per year over the term of Cory Aquino which ended in 1992.

The NCR minimum wage increased Php154 over Arroyo’s term, Php52 over Estrada’s, Php80 over Ramos’, and Php81 over Cory Aquino’s.

IBON said that the poor wage performance is little changed in terms of the real value of the minimum wage, or taking inflation into consideration. The meager 5.5% increase in the real value under Aquino is less than the 8.5% under Arroyo, 10.3% under Estrada, and 35.2% under Cory Aquino. It is only slightly more than the 3.9% increase under Ramos.

Labor Day always brings the issue of wages and jobs higher in the public consciousness. This May 1 is an opportunity to reflect how the neoliberal transformation of the Philippine economy has made a few families and large corporations wealthy at the cost of hardship and suffering for millions of the working class, said IBON. <end>

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