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Labor group seeks daily pay hike in Calabarzon, Bicol Region

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
Labor group seeks daily pay hike in Calabarzon, Bicol Region
Passengers present their vaccination cards to personnel upon entry at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) in Tambo, Parañaque City on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed another petition for minimum wage hikes, this time in Calabarzon and the Bicol region, in a bid to keep wages at par with sharp increase in prices of consumer goods and services.

In a statement on Tuesday, the labor group submitted their pay hike petition to the wage board of Region IV-A, which comprises Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. The minimum wage in the region ranges between P278.57 to P370.46 currently, net of government-mandated deductions, which the TUCP hopes to increase by P428.

Their separate petition for wage hikes in Region V, which spans Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, seeks to increase the measly P310 daily pay by P440.

If wage boards grant TUCP's petitions, this would make wages constant in Calabarzon, which has varied across its different provinces, cities, and municipalities, and increase daily pay for workers in the Bicol Region, which has consistently experienced the highest consumer inflation even before the pandemic.

In the separate petitions, the TUCP pencilled in the increases which will boost minimum wages to P828 in Region IV-A and P750 in Region V.

"How can workers and their families cope with skyrocketing prices of foods and commodities with such ridiculously low wages?” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza.

These petitions are the eighth and ninth petitions of their kind filed by the labor group when expensive oil prices as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine started battering the Philippine economy. Petitions have also been filed in Metro Manila, Region VII, Region XI, Region X, Region XIII, Region XII, and Region IX.

The TUCP reckoned that from the daily minimum wage of workers residing in Calabarzon, only P11-14 can be set aside for each member of the family. The TUCP noted in their petition that based on their computation, the purchasing power of the current wage level in the Bicol region only stood at P264.06.

The last time wages saw marginal increases in Region IV-A was back in 2018, when rice prices pushed inflation to new highs then. As it is, the lack of wage uniformity in Calabarzon irked the labor group, since increases were given in piecemeal across different industry sectors as well.

While the daily minimum wage was constant in the poverty-saddled Bicol region, the increases in 2018 and 2019 have long dissipated, the TUCP asserted.

Likewise, the labor group pointed out stellar growth figures for the two regions, since Calabarzon experienced its economy grew by an average of 9.3% between 2015-2019 while the Bicol region eked out an average growth rate of 8.9% between 2014-2019. The pandemic-induced recession stalled these two regions growth prospects.

"Workers continued to give and sacrifice even with their declining health and strength due to poor nutrition for the sake of regional and national economic development," Mendoza added.

OMICRON VARIANT

PHILIPPINE ECONOMY

TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES

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