Labor group proposes daily pay hike in Ilocos region

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
This undated file photo shows the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte.
Philstar.com / Kristine Joy Patag

MANILA, Philippines — The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed another petition for minimum wage hikes, this time in Ilocos region, in a bid to uplift workers' lives as prices of consumer goods and services continued to rise.

The labor group's petition to the wage board of Region I on Thursday sought an increase of P420 to the current daily pay rate there. If granted, this would bring the minimum wage for workers in the Ilocos region to a total of P760.

Likewise, TUCP's petition would make daily pay in the Ilocos region constant, as the pay structure across agricultural and non-agricultural workers vary depending on the size of its workforce and capitalization. Businesses with 1-9 employees in the region need to only pay a P282 minimum wage, as opposed to those with 30 or more in its workforce.

"Cut down the bureaucratic procedures and endless hearings and just issue a wage order that will save our minimum wage earners and their families from continuing hunger and malnutrition," TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.

Worth noting in TUCP's petition for daily pay hikes in the region is that it only accounted for "half the gap between the government-prescribed daily nutritional needs of a family of five and the survival meal that can be afforded by a minimum wage earner."

This is the tenth petition from the labor group, having filed similar proposals in wage boards in Metro Manila, Region IV-A, Region V, Region VII, Region XI, Region X, Region XIII, Region XII, and Region IX. TUCP sent a flurry of petitions in the past weeks as expensive oil prices, skyrocketing as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, became reality for Filipino consumers still finding solid footing after a pandemic-induced recession in 2020.

The TUCP pointed out that from the current daily minimum wage of workers in the Ilocos region, only a measly P12.44 could be set aside per meal for each member of the family. Taking into consideration the purchasing power of the current minimum wage, the range settled between P249.56-300.89.

Wages in the region were last bumped up in November 2019, with the TUCP noting that workers could no longer feel the gains from P17-30 increases made two years ago.

From 2014-2019, the Ilocos region's economy grew at an average of 5.92%, before skidding in 2020 and rebounding 4.6% last year.

"The wage board is mandated by law to ensure that a worker will receive a living wage which is enough for the worker and his family not only to survive but also to have a decent life," Mendoza added.




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