P13-wage increase insufficient

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MANILA, Philippines – The Php13-wage hike proposed by employers is not enough to even restore the real wage to its June 2010 level, said research group IBON, adding that inflation has eroded the minimum wage in Metro Manila to just Php234.90.

Inflation has averaged some 3.7% since July 2010 reaching 4.5% in April 2011, bringing down the real value of the mandated wage by Php10.50 since the start of the Aquino administration. This has brought down the current minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Php404 to just Php234.90 in real terms as of April 2011, measured in 2000 prices.

In fact, IBON says that an increase of Php18.50 will merely restore the value of the minimum wage to its real value upon the start of the Aquino administration of Php243.50. The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) announced this week that its official position would be to grant a minimum wage increase of around the amount of Php13.35.

Meanwhile, a wage hike of Php125 as demanded by progressive worker groups would bring the minimum wage to its highest ever real value. The amount moreover is just a 15% cut in the profits of employers with 20 and over workers. If ever, this would also be the first indication that there is any change taking place under the Aquino administration, the research group said.

A Php125-wage hike would raise the real value of the minimum wage to Php304.90. This would not be enough to give a worker’s family a decent standard of living but will at least provide them much-needed respite from skyrocketing prices.

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