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Philippine workers demand increased wages

12 March, 2024The All Philippines’ Trade Unions (APTU), where the majority of IndustriALL Philippine affiliates are members, are demanding that Congress pass the Wage Recovery Act of 2023. This would mean a PHP150 (US$2.7) increase of the daily wage for all workers in the country’s private sector.

The Wage Recovery Act was filed by TUCP party list congressman Raymond Mendoza in 2023 to tackle escalating inflation and a decrease of real wages.

The labour centre says that regional wage boards have been ineffective in helping workers to increase their wages corresponding to the rise of productivity and gross domestic product. A wage increase would strengthen workers’ purchasing power and reduce hunger.

On 29 February, twenty APTU members rallied outside Congress when the bill was tabled. It is expected that Congress will hold three more hearings and a bicameral conference committee will be set up to consolidate the bills and decide on the amount, after which the Philippine President will either approve or veto the bills.

Unions in the country will continue to advocate for higher wages for Philippine workers. The Associated Labor Union (ALU) welcomes the current moves to focus national discussions on what matters for struggling Filipinos.

“The take home pay of workers must be sufficient to buy at least their families’ minimum basic food and non-food needs. Daily minimum wages in the Philippines continue to be below poverty thresholds. Workers are used to small slices in the wage gap. Our basic labour rights advocacies continue – in Congress, wage boards, industries and at enterprises,”

says Eva Arcos, ALU national vice president.

"Providing for an across-the-board wage increase is not only an economic, but also a social justice issue. It allows the workers to somehow cope with the inequities of the economic system, and assert their politico-economic rights,"

says Darius Guerrero, national secretary of Philippine Trade & General Workers' Organization (PTGWO).
IndustriALL supports the legislative initiative as Philippine workers are hit hard by the soaring price after the Covid-19 pandemic and impact of geopolitical tensions.
Says IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary Ramon Certeza:

“We will continue to support our affiliates to develop national action plan towards the attainment not only of minimum wage but towards living wage.”