TUCP: Wage hike in Regions 6, 7 won't lift workers from poverty

MANILA -- Organized labor branded the wage orders released separately by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) of Regions 6 (Western Visayas) and 7 (Central Visayas) as being too small to address the current needs of workers.

The usually moderate Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said in a statement Tuesday that "the new wage increase rates released by the wage boards in Regions 6 and 7 does not lift workers out of extreme poverty level."

"It is also bound to create more poverty problems caused by migration of workers and their families particularly with the segmentation of wage rates in Western Visayas," ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay added.

The Region 6 wage board approved a PHP41.50/day wage increase for non-agricultural workers. But those working for companies with less than 10 employees will only receive a PHP23.50/day pay hike. Agricultural workers in this region were only granted a PHP13.50 increase in their daily pay.

Meantime, the Region 7 wage board approved a PHP20/day wage hike for those employed in Class A cities and municipalities while those in Class B, C and D areas will be receiving only PHP15/day.

Tanjusay explained that by granting segmented wage rates, the two RTWPBs will create pressure for workers in poorer communities to migrate to more prosperous cities in hopes of landing jobs with higher pay. This, he added, will further exacerbate the problem of overpopulation in places such as Metro Manila.

"With these wage orders, the wage boards highly favored the employers sector and created more problems than solutions," Tanjusay added.

Last month, the wage boards in all 13 regions in the country were ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to convene in view of the recent inflation surge. Each wage board is composed of representatives from the employee, employer and government sectors. (PR)