P75 shaved off P450 minimum wage in Iloilo due to December inflation

Faster inflation or the rise in prices of basic goods and services has cut into the minimum wage of workers, a labor group claimed. (F.A. Angelo)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Workers are poorer by more than P70 due to the faster inflation or the increase in prices of goods and services.

Labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) said P75 has been eroded from the P450 minimum wage in Iloilo as a result of the continuous rise in prices.

“We call for a new round of wage hikes to recover the lost purchasing power of workers not just in Western Visayas but in the whole country due to the surge in inflation. We call on Congress to legislate a P100 across-the-board salary increase for all workers as relief from the shock of rising prices,” PM-Iloilo coordinator Mario Andon told Daily Guardian.

Inflation in December 2022 hit 8.1%, slightly faster than the 8.0% in November.

The December inflation figure was the highest recorded since December 2008, which was in the context of the onset of the global financial crisis.

Notably, inflation is higher in areas outside Metro Manila. The consumer price index for December 2022 in Metro Manila was 116.6 while areas outside was at 120.1, according to statistical tables released today by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

For Western Visayas alone, inflation hit 10.5 percent in December 2022, an increase of 0.9 percent from November 2022 (9.6 percent), and a 6.3 percent rise from December 2021 (4.2 percent).

PM said its demand for a wage hike is based on a computation by the group using the PSA data.

“The P450 minimum wage in Iloilo is actually just worth P375 by December 2022. P75 has been shaved off the real value of the minimum wage. Meaning, not only has the P55 minimum wage hike in June 2022 been effectively wiped out by runaway inflation, workers’ real wages have pushed back even further,” Andon explained.

“Thus, we reiterate the call we made in May 2022—before the recent round of minimum wage hikes in June 2022 by different regional wage boards—for a P100 wage increase. This should be for all workers, not just those at the minimum salary level, since all have suffered from wage erosion.”

The labor group clarified that the wage hike demand is merely wage recovery.

“We are not yet even talking of workers claiming a just share in the fruits of their labor. From 2001 to 2016, real wages stagnated but labor productivity increased by 50% and the GDP doubled,” Andon said.

“Of course, employers will again create horror scenarios of closures and bankruptcy against the workers’ demand for a wage hike. They will cry that they are suffering from the economic crisis even though they monopolized the gains of the decade and half-long business boom. Not only does the government owe workers due to unabated inflation but also employers are obligated to share the wealth created by the labor of the working class,” he added.