SEVERAL labor groups used their protests on Thursday, Bonifacio Day, to call for a legislated wage increase by P750 on top of the current minimum wage, citing rising prices of goods.
The groups justified the huge wage hike by noting workers’ income “remains stagnant amid rising prices,” keeping it way below the family living wage.
“To reach the cost of living, we need to enact the P750 across-the-board wage increase into law and from there, we would proceed by discontinuing regional wage boards,” said President of the National Confederation of Labor Ernesto Arellano in Filipino.
“No matter how many government agencies are admitting that their daily minimum wage of workers is lower than the family poverty income threshold, the regional wage boards are not giving enough these past two years,” he added.
The highest regional minimum wage is at P610 for NCR. Other regions have also approved minimum wage hikes in the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, among others.
Earlier in March, Rep. Arlene Brosas and various labor groups in the country filed House Bill 7568 at the House of Representatives, mandating private employers to pay workers an additional P750 daily wage.
Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has proposed a legislated P150 wage hike nationwide.
According to the IBON Foundation, the family living wage as of September 2023 is P1,186 daily for a family of five.
“Hindi po nakasasapat ’yung P150 kasi malayong malayo na talaga ’yon sa mga pangangailangan ng mga manggagawa [P150 is not enough because it is far from sustaining the needs of workers],” said Brosas in an October press briefing.
Aside from the minimum wage hike, the labor groups also called for the abolition of “Endo” (for end-of-contract) contractualization, upholding of the freedom of association, and other workers’ rights.
The labor groups are composed of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), All Workers Unity, (AWU), Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO) and National Confederation of Labor (NCL).