Metro Manila workers to get P21 daily wage hike

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Minimum wage earners in Metro Manila will receive an additional P21 a day after the regional wage board approved the increase Thursday.

This brings the minimum wage for non-agriculture workers in Metro Manila  to P512 from P491 starting the end of September.

Those in the agriculture sector, small retail, service and manufacturing establishments will get P475 from the previous P454.

According to the order, the wage board "has determined the need to increase the prevailing minimum wage rates without impairing the viability of business and industry."

The Associated Labor Unions - Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said the hike will affect about 6 million minimum wage earners in Metro Manila.

The 21-peso wage hike is still below the petitioned increase by three labor groups.

In June, the Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates - Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization filed a petition for a P175 hike, while the ALU-TUCP sought a P184 increase. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines asked for P259.

While the wage hike covers all minimum wage earners in the private sector in Metro Manila, it excludes domestic workers, persons in the personal service of another, and workers of duly registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises.

Wage hike not enough

The ALU-TUCP said the P21 increase is inadequate to meet the needs of minimum wage workers.

"The P21 increase in daily wage remains insufficient for families to cope with rising prices of goods and increasing costs of goods. P21 is only 4.27% of the current P491. So it obviously did not lift workers out of poverty," said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

He said the group will request President Rodrigo Duterte to provide a P500 monthly cash subsidy to minimum wage workers to purchase rice, groceries, and medicines.

Labor union Kilusang Mayo Uno agrees.

"Instead of heeding our demands, the Duterte government is insulting workers with a measly 21 peso increase that would even be futile amidst the unabated increases in the prices of basic goods and services," it said in a statement.