Labor Secretary Criticized for Opposing Legislated Pay Hike

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Two Labor Federations Criticize Labor Secretary’s Position on Salary Increases

Two of the country’s biggest labor federations have recently voiced their criticism towards Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma’s stance on salary increases. Laguesma believes that the decision regarding salary hikes should be left to the regional wage boards, in order to strike a balance between the interests of employers and workers. However, this viewpoint has not been well-received by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Federation of Free Workers (FFW).

TUCP Advocates for Legislated Pay Hike

While both the TUCP and the FFW are pushing for an increase in wages, the FFW does not agree with the TUCP’s call for Laguesma’s removal from his position as labor chief. The TUCP argues that Laguesma cannot simultaneously serve as the Secretary of Labor and be a spokesperson against wage hikes. They accuse Laguesma of spreading falsehoods about the negative consequences of raising workers’ wages, such as inflation, unemployment, and business closures. According to the TUCP, these claims have already been debunked by academic institutions, think tanks, and economists, who view them as nothing more than a smokescreen for corporate greed.

Wage Hikes Falling Short of Poverty Threshold and Living Wage

It is worth noting that all wage increases approved by the regional boards this year have fallen below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Additionally, these hikes have also remained well below the estimated living wage determined by the National Wages and Productivity Commission. This disparity between the approved wage hikes and the actual cost of living has further fueled the demands for a legislated pay hike by labor federations like the TUCP and the FFW.

Overall, the criticisms put forth by the TUCP and the FFW shed light on the ongoing debate surrounding salary increases in the Philippines. While Secretary Laguesma believes in leaving the decision to regional wage boards, labor federations like the TUCP argue for a legislated pay hike to ensure that workers’ wages are in line with the cost of living. These conflicting viewpoints highlight the challenges faced by both employers and workers in finding a fair and balanced solution to the issue of wage increases.

Source: The Manila Times

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