Amidst high inflation, labor group renews call for P100 wage hike

(DG file)

In reaction to the 3-year high inflation of 4.9% this April, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) reiterated its call for a P100 wage hike.

The Philippine Statistics Authority released the inflation rate which is a rapid monthly increase of 0.9% over the previous inflation data for March.

“P100 is wage recovery, not a real increase in salaries. From 2018 to the present, real wages have declined by a significant amount of 8%. The rising inflation rate further erodes real wages. The National Wages and Productivity Commission’s own data shows that as of February 2022, the P537 minimum wage in Metro Manila is worth only P494 due to inflation since 2018,” PM national chair and Marikina councilor Rene Magtubo said.

The wage hike was among the demands raised by PM and other worker groups in the nationwide Labor Day activities a few days ago.

PM is asking that an emergency session of Congress tackle a legislated wage hike.

“The regional wage boards are useless. Instead workers want Congress to pass a law mandating a P100 across-the-board wage increase, even for those receiving salaries above the minimum wage since everyone has been affected by inflation,” asserted Magtubo.

He added that “P100 is really not enough to raise minimum wages to the level of the cost of living. Thus, a holistic approach necessitates a cash aid, price discounts and a jobs program in response to the spike in food prices. Families of the unemployed and informal workers should be given a cash assistance of P10,000 a month. In the long-term, support for farmers must be accelerated, food sovereignty must be promoted and land conversion must be stopped. Local programs that connect farmers to consumers and workers’ communities must be encouraged.”

The group is also supporting the labor coalition Nagkaisa’s call for an emergency jobs creation program called unemployment support and work assistance guarantee or USWAG.

PM and other labor groups coalesced under the Alliance of Labor Leaders for Leni signed a covenant the tandem of Vice President Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan that calls for approximating the living wage and abolishing the system provincial wages.

Magtubo explained that “Metro Manila workers last got a minimum wage increase on October 30, 2018, more than three years ago. The most recent wage hike was for Region 2 on February 4, 2020, on the eve of the lockdowns. The worst off are workers in Calabarzon, where most factories are now situated, who last got a minimum wage increase on February 28, 2018. None of the regional wage boards have done anything for the past three years since they are an instrument to cheapen wages.”