P470 pay hike in NCR nixed

TUCP bares no details yet from region’s wage board for rejection

The tripartite wage and productivity board of the National Capital Region has rejected a labor group’s petition for a P470 increase in the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay revealed the wage board’s decision in a text message but did not give any details.

The TUCP on March 14 filed for a P470 increase in the NCR’s daily minimum wage, which would raise the daily minimum to P1,007.

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The labor group cited hunger, malnutrition, and the steep increase in the prices of fuel and other basic goods as reasons for seeking the wage increase.

This developed as the country’s oil firms cut pump prices by as much as P2.30 per liter effective 6 a.m. Tuesday to reflect the movement of prices in the world market.

Apart from gasoline prices going down by P2.30 per liter, oil firms also cut the price diesel by P1.85 per liter and kerosene by P1.65 per liter.

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“PTT Philippines to implement the following price rollbacks effective 6am Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Gasoline by P2.30/liter and diesel by P1.85 per liter,” the company said.

Cleanfuel, Seaoil Philippines, PetroGazz, and Chevron (Caltex) also announced their respective price cuts.

“Clearly, our minimum wage earners and their families have fallen from the category of low-income to newly poor. This is a sad commentary on the social condition in our country where those who break their backs to sustain and expand the economy are now wallowing in poverty,” TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE’s) National Wages and Productivity Commission says the daily minimum wage in the NCR ranges from P500 to P537.

The TUCP pointed out that the present monthly take-home pay of P12,843.48 was “far below” the supposed monthly wage of P16,625 poverty threshold for a family of five in Metro Manila.

Earlier, the government said it wanted to raise the minimum wage nationwide to help workers and their families cope with sharply rising fuel prices that have driven up commodity prices all around.

At the time, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III directed the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) across the country to speed up the review of the minimum wages to help workers and their families cope with the looming oil crisis.

Bello said the skyrocketing prices of oil products aggravated by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine may be a compelling reason for the wage boards to recommend raising the minimum wages of workers.

The current daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) of P537 may no longer be enough to cope with the price of basic commodities such as food, electricity, and water bills.

Bello, who chairs the Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, said the RTWPBs, along with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and representatives from both the labor and employers’ groups, as a matter of procedure, monitor the wage levels, assess the economic factors, and provide recommendations for the adjustment of minimum wages all over the country.

RTWPBs nationwide receive petitions for minimum wage increase in their respective areas.

“Every year, we have what we call an anniversary period where we make an assessment of all petitions received. One petition called for a uniform increase of P750 in the minimum wage nationwide,” Bello said.

The Labor chief expressed confidence that the RTWPBs will submit their recommendations before the end of April.

The peace talks between Russia and Ukraine had an influence on oil trading last week.

According to Reuters, oil prices declined on Friday after the announcement of International Energy Agency (IEA) to join the stockpile release following the US decision to let go of one million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil until May.

This developed after the oil firms increased the price of kerosene by as much as P3.27 per kilogram effective April 1.

On March 29, oil firms raised the price of gasoline by P3.40 per liter, diesel by P8.65 per liter and kerosene by P9.40 per liter.

Prior to that, the oil companies cut prices of domestic oil products, rolling back gasoline prices by P5.45 to P5.50 per liter, diesel by P11.45 per to P11.50 per liter, and kerosene by P8.55 per liter on March 22.

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