A substantial wage hike is necessary and urgent especially as the current mandated minimum wage in Metro Manila falls far short of providing for decent living, said research group IBON Foundation.
According to the group, the gap between the mandated minimum wage and the family living wage (FLW) in the NCR has been widening in the last decade. At the end of 2001, there was a gap of Php244 between the Php265 minimum wage and the Php509 family living wage – placing the minimum wage at just 52% of the FLW. This gap widened over the next ten years to reach P567 by end-2011, between the Php426 minimum wage and the Php993 FLW – or a minimum wage of just 43% of the FLW. The family living for 2011 is inflated using NCR commodity price index since September 2008 (the last time that the National Wages Productivity Commission released an FLW estimate).
The current NCR minimum wage of Php426 is grossly insufficient to provide for even a small family, IBON said. The largest part of this wage breaks down into just approximately: Php204 per day for food; Php2,096 per month for rent; Php1,150 per month for fuel, light and water; Php28 per day (or Php843 per month) for transportation. These account for some 80% of total spending with the balance going to personal care, clothing and footwear, education, medical care and others.
This indicates the poor quality of life that minimum wage earners in Metro Manila can afford. IBON added that this contrasts with, for example, the amount spent by the richest 10% of families in NCR who average Php18,041 per month just on food.
A large wage hike (such as the Php125-increase petitioned by labor groups) may not bring a decent standard of living to poor families but this will substantially improve their welfare, said IBON. Moreover, raising wages is a concrete way to make growth in the country become more inclusive, with low-paid workers sharing in the fruits of economic growth rather than benefiting just a handful of rich families and big corporations, the group said. (end)