Employers and workers reject approved pay hike in the Philippines
Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement that minimum wage earners, including domestic workers, were expected to benefit from a series of pay hikes across the regions starting this month and until early next year.
However, both employers and workers groups have rejected the wage hikes, saying the increases would discourage investments and the amounts of the wage hikes were too small to meet the rising cost of living.
“We proposed the P750 increase (US$19.48) [because that was the] closest to the daily cost of living,” said former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.
Casilao’s group and other labour organisations have been pushing for a nationalised wage adjustment, saying that while prices of basic commodities in the National Capital Region are lower, their daily wages are higher.
But in the provinces, prices of goods are higher, but the prevailing wages are lower, Casilao said.
Employers’ groups, on the other hand, said the wage increase was a “misstep” at a time when most companies were still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.
“What deserves greater attention is the primordial need to create more jobs and preserve those that still exist. This cannot be addressed by adding to the cost of doing business fueled by a wage increase,” the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Philippine Exporters Confederation said in a joint statement.
In the Davao region, for instance, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), said the P31 (US$0.80) wage adjustment approved in the region represents a 12% adjustment in the minimum wage.
If the adjustment goes through, companies will most likely reduce their workforce to sustain their operations, especially those in the agriculture and service sectors, said Stephen Antig, executive director of PBGEA, according to Inquirer.