TUCP calls to intensify passage of the Wage Recovery Act

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 23,2024 - 10:09 AM

TUCP calls to intensify passage of the Wage Recovery Act

Inquirer.net

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for immediate action from the House of Representatives to pass House Bill No. 7871, known as the Wage Recovery Act of 2023.

This bill, authored by TUCP President and House Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza, aims to institute a ₱150 across-the-board wage increase for private sector workers nationwide.

In a press statement dated February 21, Deputy Speaker Mendoza stated the urgency of the bill, praising Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for directing the House Committee on Labor and Employment to conduct public hearings promptly.

These hearings are seen as crucial in addressing the pressing need for an increase in workers’ take-home pay.

READ: Bill pushing for P150 increase in private workers’ daily wages filed in House

TUCP, through its press statement, highlighted the longstanding failure of Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to adjust wages in line with the cost of living.

It said that since 1989 these boards had operated under an outdated approach that would prioritize low wages to attract investments.

The most recent legislated wage increase, as stipulated in Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, which established regional wage boards, amounted to only ₱25 on top of the existing ₱64 minimum wage.

In contrast, the latest minimum wage hike granted by the regional wage boards as of 2024 was a modest ₱50.

READ: Staggered, more ‘doable’ wage hike proposed

With this, TUCP argues that nearly 35 years have elapsed without a legislated wage increase and that modern trade requires decent work conditions, including fair wages, for workers.

“As Filipino workers struggle with already-low wages eroded by inflation and various headwinds, the legislated wage hike is no longer a social or economic imperative but a moral and existential imperative, especially for our millions of mostly poor wage earners…,” Mendoza stated.

He added, “Their honest hard work receives only poverty wages that cannot even sustain the health, productivity, and need for a decent life of their families.”

Despite recent adjustments by regional wage boards, all minimum wages remain below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), according to Mendoza.

He noted that the situation had left workers struggling to support themselves and their families, underscoring the urgent need for legislative intervention.

READ: Neda warns proposed P100 pay hike may hurt small businesses

To address concerns from the business sector, H.B. 7871 includes provisions for wage subsidies to micro and small enterprises. These subsidies aim to ensure the viability of businesses while enabling them to comply with the proposed wage legislation.

TUCP Vice President Luis Corral dismissed opposition from employers, emphasizing the benefits of wage increases for both workers and businesses.

Corral highlighted the positive impact of wage increases on productivity and consumer demand, arguing against what he termed as “employer overkill” on fair wages.

“Let’s end the blame game that workers’ wages will increase inflation and discourage investments because the real culprits are astronomically expensive yet unreliable electricity and soaring food prices, and not the poverty wages further eroded by the rising cost of living,” Corral stated.

READ: Employers: A catastrophe to grant P100 wage hike

He asserted that wage increases ultimately benefit all parties involved and urged an end to opposition based on misconceptions about their economic impact.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Mendoza aligned the initiative with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s vision of inclusive and equitable growth.

He further noted the importance of ensuring that no worker is left behind in the country’s rapid industrialization efforts, with higher wages driving inclusive and equitable wage-led growth for a more prosperous society.

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TAGS: TUCP, Wage Recovery Act

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