The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights criticized the recent wage adjustment saying the it is “demeaning” and “cruel” to workers especially amid rising prices and the P10- billion-peso scam.

On September 6, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced the wage adjustment integrating P15 of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to basic pay and adding P10 of COLA. The new basic pay is now at P451.00 while the additional COLA will be effective only on January 2014.

Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR said, “Such measly amount is demeaning and cruel to workers and the poor as rising prices of basic commodities and utilities in the recent months have already depressed the real value of wages.”

The group further explained that the wage adjustment is negligible as wage levels will remain below half of the family living wage estimated at P1,039.

Arago added that the wage adjustment is both very insulting and cunning, “It is the lowest wage adjustment in NCR in the last decade however, the government is trying to present it as good news by saying the it is the first time that the regional wage board made a unanimous decision over wage hikes.”

“We are even more repelled by the Aquino government’s display of insensitivity by giving Filipinos token wage adjustments amid corruption scandals involving billions of pesos from people’s taxes being pocketed by a few,” Arago pointed out.

Arago also berated a recent statement of Malacañang spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda who belittled the 5-million peso controversy thrown at Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, “It is extremely appalling that Malacañang is taking 5 million pesos as non-issue when the government is only giving workers 10 pesos in a time when most Filipinos are worried of the rising prices of rice which is now at P42 per kilo.”

In the end, the group challenged the government to support the workers demand for a substantial and legislated wage hike. The group said that a substantial wage hike will provide immediate relief to many Filipinos and a legislated increase will benefit all workers across the country.###