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Nation

TUCP to Noy: Raise minimium salary of workers

Dennis Carcamo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) said President Benigno Aquino III has a little to help an estimated P24.4 million poor workers whose income still cannot cope with the cost of basic goods and services.

TUCP Nagkaisa spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said he is baffled why the government remains reluctant to raise the wages of poor working people amid results of government’s Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey, showing big disparity between family income and barest expenditures.

The poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for 2014 was at P8,778 a month for a family of five to survive. However, in the first semester of 2014, average incomes of poor families were short by 27 percent of the poverty threshold.

NEDA said that poverty threshold is the minimum income set by government as required to meet basic food and non-food needs for a family of five to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive.

It showed poor workers in the informal economy, estimated to be at P21 million, who received less than the mandated minimum wage, were found to earn average monthly income of measly P6,408. This means they needed P2,370 more per month to move out of poverty in that year.

"It's very alarming that a huge problem confronting workers who fell through the cracks has not been acted upon ever since. Right now, they are coping on their own, coping by the means available to them and we feel they are totally excluded from the agenda sharing the profits," TUCP-Nagkaisa spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

Workers in the informal economy include construction workers, farmers, vendors, jeepney, bus, tricycle, pedicab drivers, conductors, salesladies, barbers, street-sweepers and garbage collectors.

For minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, a disparity of P1,082.31 a month from the prescribed P8,778 poverty threshold amount last year.

PSA figures show the real value of P466 minimum wage for the National Capital Region (NCR) last year was P356.64 a day or P7,695.69 a month.

This year, the current value of the current highest minimum wage of P481 is only P371.64 a day or P8,176.08 a month— still a P601.92 short compared with the 2014 P8,778 threshold.

Today, TUCP-Nagkaisa estimated the mid-year poverty threshold at P9,177 a month.

Meanwhile, Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions, said the latest ideal minimum wage should be at P1,068 a day to cover the rising costs of prices of basic food and non-food needs.

Seno said that this can be achieved through a priority legislated wage hike measure or through a uniform decision of regional wage boards.

"That is why with less than a year in office, we are still hoping President Aquino to make tough policy decisions in raising Filipino family income both at the formal and informal sector workers,"  Seno said.

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