Labor group hopeful of gov't nod on food subsidy for workers

By Ferdinand Patinio

November 22, 2018, 5:32 pm

MANILA -- The Associated Labor Unions - Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) is optimistic that the government would consider its proposal to provide minimum wage workers a food subsidy.

"Our proposal to President (Rodrigo) Duterte for his administration to provide food subsidy for lowly-paid workers still stands. Though diminishing by the day, we have to push the envelope and raise the issue with the President,” Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of ALU-TUCP, said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Mind you, the President himself has neither said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to our proposal. So we remain hopeful but it’s no longer as ardent as we have proposed it to him in April 2017," he added.

The group has proposed for the government to step in and fill the gap by giving a PHP500 monthly food voucher subsidy to workers as a temporary measure to raise the eroding buying power of minimum wage workers, due to the rising prices of commodities and costs of services.

Tanjusay noted that Metro Manila workers were unable to feel the impact of the PHP25 wage increase, which took effect on Thursday.
"Workers are not excited with the increase in their daily pay today because the equivalent buying of PHP25 is only PHP17.50 per day these days. It has no impact in (terms of) helping workers and their families get by poverty," he added.

Meanwhile, the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition urged the President to create a presidential commission to study the creation of a national wage-fixing mechanism for the implementation of the mandate on family living wage under Article 25 of the Constitution and to strengthen unionism for industry and enhance plant-level collective bargaining.

“The recent PHP25 adjustment for minimum wage in NCR (National Capital Region) that was approved by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board that takes effect today (Thursday) is latest proof of how wages fixed under this mechanism deepens inequality rather than eradicates chronic poverty,” lawyer Sonny Matula, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition chairman, said in a separate statement.

“In fact, the affiliates of Nagkaisa are of one opinion that the meager increase simply fits into the 1989 template created by RA (Republic Act No.) 6727 where wage hike is decided based on employers' ‘capacity to pay’ rather than on raising workers' standard of living,” he added, referring to the Wage Nationalization Act.

The labor groups are also studying a proposal to Congress regarding a national minimum wage. (PNA)