P100 wage hike will be a blessing not catastrophe

Partido Manggagawa | Facebook Photo

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) countered employers’ doomsday scenarios for the economy once a legislated nationwide wage hike is passed.

“A P100 wage hike will be a blessing not a catastrophe for the economy. For the past two years, minimum wages were raised in all regions, except BARMM for this round, and yet inflation and unemployment went on a decline. The economy benefited and did not suffer from salary increases,” argued Mario Andon, PM-Iloilo spokesperson.

The group welcomes the proposed P100 increase in minimum wages which the Senate will deliberate on third reading on Monday.

“We would have wanted it to be higher and across-the-board but still an additional P100 in workers’ pockets will be an immediate relief as the cost of living is around P1,200 a day,” Andon stated.

PM is calling on the House of Representatives Labor Committee to deliberate on the pending wage bills.

“As surveys have repeatedly shown, Filipinos want solutions to high prices and low wages, not amendments to the Constitution. Let’s get to work,” Andon demanded.

He added that “ECOP head Sergio Ortiz-Luis is singing an old tune. They cried the same dire predictions in 2022 and again in 2023 when organized labor demanded wage hikes. Inflation in 2022 was 5.8% but now it is down to 2.8%. Similarly, unemployment has decreased from 5.4% in 2022 to 3.1% as of December last year.”

“In Iloilo City and other Region 6 highly commercialized areas, the minimum wage hike in 2022 and 2023 was P55 and P30, respectively, or P85 in total. Firms did not shutter and MSMEs did not go under. Where is the catastrophe? On the contrary, the economy has gained from wage hikes as the increased purchasing power meant greater demand and bigger production for firms in industry and services,” Andon explained.

He continued that “As theory and studies show, a moderate salary raise need not lead to inflation or retrenchment as employers can just absorb the higher labor costs by reducing their profit. So, we call on Sergio Ortiz-Luis, share the wealth with the workers who created it in the first place.”