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Salary Increase? Groups seek P405 wage

CEBU CITY -- Seven labor organizations jointly filed Monday a petition for wage adjustment before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Central Visayas.
In making the demand, the groups cited the eroding purchasing power of the peso, increasing prices of commodities and the increasing fare rates, among others.
These are the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Shemberg Employees Independent Union, Kan-irag Employees Labor Organization, Grand Majestic Convention Center Employees Union, Lonbisco Employees Organization, Cebu Midtown Hotel Employees Union (CMHEU), and Public Interest Advocacy and Litigation Office.
In a press conference, APL chairperson Joe Tomongha, CMHEU chairperson Jojo Regis and Cebu Labor Coalition (Celac) chairperson Boboie Belar-mino jointly announced they are not seeking a wage increase, but a "wage adjustment" because whatever amount that will be added to the existing minimum wage of P285 per day will just cover the amount of increase in fares and prices of commodities, as well as the reduction of the value of the peso.

They said that based on documents provided by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the minimum wage of P285 per day is equivalent to only "P16.24" during purchase.
The NSO records showed that for January 2011, the consumer price index was 175.3, inflation rate was 3.4 percent, and purchasing power of the peso was P0.57.
They asked the RTWPB-Central Visayas to increase the workers' wages by P120.40, across the board, so the minimum wage will become P405.40 from P285 per day.
The same labor groups filed a petition for wage increase of P150.45 in May 2010, but the RTWPB 7 only granted P18.
"When we filed our petition for wage increase last year, we had a scientific computation, but our figures were ignored by RTWPB, which granted only P18 without basis," Tomongha said.
Other grounds
Their other grounds for the P120.40 wage adjustment are the insufficient increases from the past, unstable oil prices, Revised Value Added Tax, hike in taxes, effects of globalization, and the increases in water and power rates, Belarmino said.
The three labor leaders said that even if the minimum wage is raised to P405.40 per day in Central Visayas, the amount still wouldn't be enough for a family of six.
"This is very far below the living wage determined by Neda (National Economic and Development Authority) of P867 per day for a family of six and how much a family should spend every month to meet their basic needs," Belarmino said. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2011.
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