‘Possible hike via wage boards spare change’ – Labor NGO

14th round of oil price hikes add urgency to P125 wage hike bill – labor NGO

MANILA — The latest round of hikes in pump prices, which is the 14th this year, should prompt the House of Representatives to heed the labor’s clamor fo a legislated across-the-board wage increase, a labor NGO said today as Congress will resume session in less than a week.

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said the latest increase – P1.40 per liter in unleaded gasoline, P1 per liter in regular gasoline and 30 centavos per liter in kerosene, and P3 per kilogram in LPG – points to worse wage erosion that warrant a significant pay hike.

Last Tuesday’s increase brought the total hike in the price of gasoline since January at almost P12.

“The non-stop hikes in pump prices will definitely hike commodity prices anew and thus will further erode workers’ wages. It is then imperative for the House of Representatives to act swiftly on the P125-wage increase bill to at least stabilize the declining value of wages,” said Anna Leah Escresa.

EILER supports House Bill 375, filed by Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano, that calls for a P125-across-the-board nationwide wage increase. The labor NGO also dismissed the possible wage hike grants by the wage boards in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Visayas as “spare change” and “divisive.”

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“Pump price hikes pummel not just Metro Manila residents but also Filipinos in other regions. What is needed then is a significant wage increase that will cut across all regions.” said Escresa.

Escresa said that based on the recent pronouncements by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, only NCR, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas workers would receive a measly pay hike of not more than P25.

“A wage increase below P25 is even not enough to cover the barrage price hikes since July last year. Such possible grant by the wage boards clearly doesn’t change the escalating drop in Filipino’s standard of living,” Escresa said.

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