Inflation has shaved P76 off the P570 minimum wage in NCR, workers group says
As a result of the continuous rise in prices, P76 have been eroded from the P570 minimum wage in Metro Manila. The P570 minimum wage in NCR is actually just worth P494 by October 2022. This means that minimum wage workers are now poorer by that amount every day. Before the P33 minimum wage hike in June 2022, the minimum wage was P537. Meaning, not only have P33 been effectively wiped out by inflation, workers’ wages have been pushed back even further.
This demand for a wage hike is based on an initial computation by the Labor Education and Research Network. The computation for wage erosion took account of the rise in prices since the effectivity of the P570 minimum wage in Metro Manila last June 4.
We call for a new round of wage hikes to recover the lost purchasing power of workers not just in Metro Manila but in the whole country due to the surge in inflation. We call on Congress to legislate a P100 across-the-board salary increase for all workers as relief from the shock of rising prices.
The government’s planned targeted relief in response to inflation is welcome, but a wage hike is the best safety net for all workers. Thus, we reiterate the call we made in March 2022—before the recent round of minimum wage hikes in June 2022 by different regional wage boards—for a P100 wage increase. This should be for all workers, not just those at the minimum, since all have suffered from wage erosion.
Organized labor’s wage hike demand is merely wage recovery. We are not yet even talking of workers claiming a just share in the fruits of their labor. From 2001 to 2016, real wages stagnated, but labor productivity increased by 50 percent and the gross domestic product doubled. Workers have not benefited from the wealth boom before the pandemic.
Of course, employers will again create horror scenarios of closures and bankruptcy against the workers’ demand for a wage hike. They will cry that they are suffering from the economic crisis even though they monopolized the gains of the decade and half-long business boom. Not only does the government owe workers due to unabated inflation, but also employers are obligated to share the wealth created by the labor of the working class. It is time for a better normal—a new era where workers are not the first to sacrifice in a time of crisis and the last to benefit, if at all, from progress.
Rene Magtubo,chair, Partido Manggagawa,
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.