Workers’ group seeks support of Catholic bishops to counter business opposition to the proposed P150 wage hike

Labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has appealed to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to support labor’s urgent call for a legislative wage increase of P150.

The appeal was issued on the 42nd anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s landmark encyclical Laborem Exercens (issued on Sept. 14, 1981), which stressed the rights of workers and unions, underscoring the importance of just remuneration for workers.

Reaffirming their championing of a legislative wage increase of P150 for workers, the FFW also extended its appeal to the leaders of Protestant and Evangelical churches, and Ulamas in Muslim communities.

FFW reasoned that “contrary to the arguments put forth by business groups such as Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FFCCCI), increasing wages contributes to a stronger consumer base, which, in turn, fuels economic growth.”

The labor group said that it was essential to comprehensively address the business landscape challenges cited by FFCCCI president Cecilio Pedro (i.e. power costs, exchange rates, and interest rates) “rather than burdening workers with stagnant wages.”

“It is imperative for Congress to pass a nationwide one-time wage hike of P150. This is the right time, considering the recent minimal wage recoveries of P40 in Metro Manila, P35 to P50 in Calabarzon, and P33 in Central Visayas, alongside existing disparities between agricultural and non-agricultural workers, discrimination between rural and urban laborers, complicated wage variations and the sluggish pacing of wage adjustments in other regions,” the FFW said.

The labor group further said that the last wage increase of about 40% hike nationwide was in 1989 and did not lead to massive unemployment or high inflation despite several coup attempts against the Corazon Aquino administration.

The P150 wage increase is championed through Senate Bill 2002, authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, with the support of Ramon Revilla, Raffy Tulfo, Jinggoy Esrada, and Risa Hontiveros in the Senate.

The FFW said that with the support of CBCP and other stakeholders, a fair wage increase can strike a balance between worker welfare and economic growth.



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