CTUHR backs calls for significant, legislated wage hike

April 22, 2011

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights has reiterated its support for a legislated P125 increase in wages amid pronouncements of the Department of Trade and Industry to “talk” to employers to increase wages minimally.

Daisy Arago, executive director of the labor NGO, noted that DTI’s pronouncement only affirms the need for a wage increase. She however stressed that a “significant” increase in wage, and not a minimal one as proposed by the DTI, – should be implemented. “It is all the more urgent given the soaring prices of oil, transportation and other basic necessities,” Arago added.

“Especially in the context where only 237,000 out of 19.5 million wage and salary workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements, a legislated wage hike is the most effective means of ensuring that all workers, whether regular, contractual, or casual, across all regions in the country will benefit from wage hikes.”

“Even those 237,000 unionized workers who can collectively bargain do not necessarily enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining agreements. Employers have resorted to many ways to undermine if not subvert CBAs.”

“Our documentation reveals that most capitalists threaten workers of relocating the company – and some have actually relocated to economic zones where wages are lower – whenever unions insist that wage hikes be tackled in the provisions of the CBA. The result would be ‘substandard’ CBAs with zero-wage increase and no benefits for the workers.”

“Other companies temporarily shut down and resume operations with a new set of workforce who are normally casual and/or contractual, once unions start asserting for wage hikes. And even when CBAs are successfully concluded, the agreed-upon provisions are not necessarily implemented by the management. Some companies even move to nullify CBAs and union registration.”

In February this year, CTUHR issued a position paper in support of House Bill 375 filed by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano seeking to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage increase for private-sector workers nationwide and participated in discussions in the subcommittee of labor in the House of Representatives.###