Trade Union Congress of the Philippines - TUCP

TEN YEARS. That is how long it would take for the current regional minimum wage determination, such as in NCR, to give a ₱150 wage increase, considering that the minimum wage rose from ₱89 in 1989 to ₱610 in 2024, averaging only ₱15 increase per year.

That is why the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomes the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to the regional wage boards and the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) to review and reform wage rates and policies in the country amid inflation. This exposes the chronic defects of the current regional minimum wage system and underscores how the resulting poverty wages are further eroded by surging prices.

The President’s marching orders to the NWPC, chaired by no less than the Labor Secretary, manifests that he has been remiss in duty in upholding every Filipino worker’s right to a living wage estimated by the NWPC itself at ₱917 way back in 2008. This did not surprise the largest labor center in the country, TUCP, considering the Secretary’s two years of grave disservice to the President and to the Filipino people.

Two years into the Marcos Administration, the Secretary failed to facilitate any labor dialogue with the President despite the most pressing issues of ILO findings and recommendations on the state of labor rights in the country. Rampant freedom of association violations and violence which consistently catapulted the Philippines to the top ten worst countries for workers for nearly a decade has been met with a cavalier attitude by the Secretary. It has been a year since the ILO went to the country yet there has been no sincere and genuine tripartite social dialogue and no progress in pursuing long-pending reforms to make it easier to form unions and limit State intervention to ensure an enabling environment for organizing and collective bargaining for higher wages.

If we keep on believing all the smooth talk and no concrete action of the Labor Secretary, not only will workers get another token increase from the regional wage boards but the nation will only see mere investment pledges on paper. The TUCP fears that the Labor Secretary is sabotaging the President’s investment pitch with his obsolete vision of a union-free and cheap labor Old Philippines. Certainly, this has no place in Bagong Pilipinas!

As workers grow restless with ENDO jobs and starvation wages, the TUCP trusts that in the hearing of the House Committee on Labor and Employment chaired by Rep. Fidel Nograles on Wednesday, 8th of May – the House of Representatives as the House of the People will say to the working class of this nation: You demanded a raise! You deserve a raise! And we will give you the long-overdue and much-deserved ₱150 legislated wage hike!

Instead of the Labor Secretary’s empty assurances of wage hikes that will actually only perpetuate “barya-baryang minimum,” the Congress should stop dragging its foot and walk the talk: TAAS-SAHOD ISABATAS SA BAGONG PILIPINAS!

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