Legislated ₱150 across-the-board now urgently needed, contrary to DOLE Opinion — FFW

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The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said that their labor coalition “respectfully disagrees” with the recent statement made by Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma who warned that a legislated wage hike could displace workers, increase prices of essential commodities, and result in a decline in growth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

FFW argued that historical evidence does not support Laguesma’s claims. “In 1989, when the highest wage hike of 39.1% was implemented nationwide, there were no repercussions of widespread unemployment, company closures, or inflationary pressures. Instead, the country experienced a robust economy and modest GDP growth, despite facing a number of coup attempts during the Cory Aquino administration.”

The labor group added that a reasonable and just wage increase is not only necessary but also beneficial for workers and the economy.

IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE, ECONOMIC GROWTH

“It can improve the quality of life for workers, reduce inequality, and stimulate consumer spending, which in turn can drive economic growth. We call on the government to consider these factors when discussing wage policies and to prioritize the well-being of Filipino workers,” the FFW said.

FFW and other labor groups said they are hoping that on May 15, the House Committee on Labor will approve the ₱150 wage hike across the board nationwide, as this would be a significant step towards addressing the needs of Filipino workers and promoting a fair and just society.

“May 15, 2024, will also mark the 133rd year and 33rd year anniversaries of Rerum Novarum and Centimus Annus, the encyclicals by Pope Leo XIII and Pope John Paul II, respectively, which both championed the idea of a family living wage, highlighting the ongoing relevance of this principle in ensuring the dignity and well-being of workers,” the FFW said.

URGENT CALL TO CONGRESS

The proposed ₱100 in the Senate  or  ₱150 wage hike in the House of Representatives, the FFW said, “represents 16% or 24%, respectively, of the existing ₱610 minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR). This percentage is notably lower than the highest wage increase of 39.1% (₱25) nationwide from ₱64 in 1989. This modest adjustment reflects a balance between addressing the economic realities and improving the standard of living for Filipino workers.”

The FFW urged the House of Representatives to seize this opportunity to support Filipino workers by approving the ₱150 wage recovery hike on May 15, 2024

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