DOLE: Wage hike calls 'untimely' as PH economy remains unstable

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 29) — Calls to increase wages might be "untimely" for this year as the economy seeks to regain its foothold, and investors await the 2022 election results, a labor official said.

Labor Asec. Dominique Tutay said there were petitions for a wage increase, but they failed to progress given the pandemic-battered economy.

"Both the management, the workers, including the government know very well the situation of our economy and they cannot just increase the salary," she told CNN Philippines' Prices & Jobs aired on Saturday.

While the Philippines sees signs of recovery, the situation remains "very unstable," she added.

Tutay noted that the decision would also depend on the results of the 2022 polls — with investors taking a wait-and-see stand on the new administration's policies.

"Normally ang attitude ng investors dyan and even the businesses is to put on hold 'yung business expansion or 'yung bagong investments," she said.

[Translation: Normally the attitude of investors regarding that and even the businesses is to put on hold the business expansion or the new investments.]

In a separate interview, a labor group echoed the DOLE's sentiment on untimely wage adjustments.

However, it stressed the current minimum wage rates make workers "vulnerable to inflation."

"Kung titingnan sa actual spending, mahina ang kakayanan na makabuhay at maitaguyod ang isang pamilya," said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

[Translation: When we look at the actual spending, the workers' ability to survive and support a family is inadequate.]

The highest minimum wage is in Metro Manila at ₱500 to ₱537, based on DOLE's website.