Workers to stick with wage hike bids despite ‘cooling’ of inflation


DESPITE the further “cooling” of inflation to 7.6 percent last month, workers are likely to keep the existing amounts of their minimum wage petitions, according to labor groups.

In an SMS, Nagkaisa labor coalition chair and Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Sonny Matula noted some of the petitions have already been filed and are now pending with the concerned regional wage boards.

Among the pending wage
petitions was the P100 wage hike filed by the Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa (Kapatiran) and the request of the Unity for Wage Increase Now! (U4WIN) to raise the existing minimum wage in Metro Manila to P1,141. Both were filed
before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR). 

Matula said he supports retaining the said amounts since “inflation already eroded the value of the wages of workers for several months.”

It was also echoed by Partido Manggagawa chair Renato Magtubo, who said the eased inflation figure does not ease the “burden of high prices of basic goods and services.”

“As such, there is an urgent need for the wage boards or Congress to address the demand for wage increase,” Magtubo said.

On Wednesday, state statistician reported inflation slowed to 7.6 percent last month from 8.6 percent last month.

External factors

IBON Executive Director Jose Enrique “Sonny” A. Africa said the prices of basic goods remain high even with the recently reported slowdown in inflation rate.

“While headline inflation slowed a little, core inflation excluding food and energy items still went up to 8.1 percent, which points to how many basic consumption items will likely still be expensive even after further moderation in more volatile food and energy prices,” Africa said.

He also said the persistence of “global uncertainty” will keep the country’s inflation elevated “for a few more months.”

“The moderation in inflation is really most of all due to external factors and not from any real effort by the Marcos Jr. administration—global oil, food and fertilizer prices started falling in the second semester and we’re really just feeling the effects of these domestically,” Africa said.


For his part, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) Secretary General Josua Mata pointed out the wage petitions are based not only on the existing inflation rates, but also the need for proper compensation of workers for their productivity.

Citing government data, the labor leader said from 2016 to 2018,  productivity was over 4 percent, while real wage growth dipped to a low of less than 2 percent during the said period.

Real wage is the value of nominal wages adjusted for inflation or consumer price index.

“Let’s not forget that the country’s wages have been lagging behind labor productivity for quite some time now. As such, wages would still have to be adjusted,” Mata said.

“What we are asking for is not just wage recovery, we do need to have a real wage increase,” he added.