Home>News>Nation>TUCP: Pass House Bill No. 7871 — Wage Recovery Act — legislated across-the-board ₱150 wage hike; enough with employers using overkill arguments

TUCP: Pass House Bill No. 7871 — Wage Recovery Act — legislated across-the-board ₱150 wage hike; enough with employers using overkill arguments

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines - TUCP

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) calls on the House of Representatives to immediately pass House Bill No. 7871 or the Wage Recovery Act of 2023 authored by TUCP President and House Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza, which seeks to legislate an across-the-board wage increase of ₱150 in the daily wages of private sector workers nationwide.

“We laud the marching orders of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for the House Committee on Labor and Employment to urgently and vigorously conduct public hearings as soon as possible to hear all sectors and deliberate on the much-needed increase in the take-home pay of our workers,” stated Deputy Speaker Mendoza.

The TUCP stressed that since 1989, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) have failed to keep pace with significant changes in the cost of living due to an unsaid, unspoken de facto implicit policy of dampening legitimate wage demands by setting too late, too little, and highly unjust wages. The TUCP blames this on an outmoded exploitative approach which believes setting ‘cheap wages’ is the key to bringing in investments. The TUCP points out that 21st-century trade is increasingly worker-centered trade. Tariff-free access to the United States and Europe places a premium on Filipino workers having decent work and that includes having a living wage.

The last legislated wage hike through Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act which established the regional wage boards was ₱25 on top of the then-₱64 minimum wage whereas the highest latest minimum wage hike given by the regional wage boards as of 2024 was only ₱50. The TUCP stressed that after nearly 35 years without a legislated wage hike, the Congress should act now to address worker survival needs to reverse this ‘cheap labor’ policy.

“As Filipino workers struggle with already-low wages eroded by inflation and various headwinds, the legislated wage hike is no longer a social or economic imperative but a moral and existential imperative, especially for our millions of mostly poor wage earners. Their honest hard work receives only poverty wages that cannot even sustain the health, productivity, and need for a decent life of their families,” underscored Deputy Speaker Mendoza.

Even with the latest wage hikes, all regional minimum wages are below the government-set poverty threshold by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and no way near the family living wage estimated by the think tank IBON Foundation.

“All regional minimum wages today fall far short of bringing nutritious food to their family’s table. Without badly needed living wages as enshrined in the Constitution, malnutrition and growth stunting will further escalate, leading to sick workers and labor productivity dropping like a rock, while our children’s mental and physical growth continue to be stunted. This will virtually erase our oft-touted demographic dividend. No wonder Filipino learners are failing in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings and no wonder one in every three of our children below five years old are stunted. We are raising a next generation of ENDO workers who will never be competitive globally or even in ASEAN. Our workforce and economy will remain ‘gatherers of woods’ and ‘carriers of water’; forever assembling goods but never manufacturing; and doomed to be an economy of low-end gig and temporary work,” underscored TUCP Vice President Luis Corral.

Addressing the concerns of businesses, H.B. 7871 provides for wage subsidies to micro and small enterprises, ensuring their viability and full compliance with this wage legislation. “The swift opposition from employers to the still-pending proposed legislated wage increase does not shock us anymore. They are expert scare-mongers misleading the people with their myths and fallacies against any wage increase. They perennially demonize any and all legitimate wage demands of Filipino workers and their families who just want simple fairness as they struggle to make ends meet,” emphasized Corral.

“Let’s end the blame game that workers’ wages will increase inflation and discourage investments because the real culprits are astronomically expensive yet unreliable electricity and soaring food prices, and not the poverty wages further eroded by the rising cost of living. Let’s end the spurious chatter that wage hikes lead to business closures and job losses because higher wages even benefit businesses through higher productivity with less turnover of workers. This results in cost savings for employers. Let’s end the guilt trip thrown to labor for demanding a wage raise that supposedly benefits only formal workers and not the larger informal economy because increases in formal workers’ wages translate into increased consumer demand for goods and services produced by the informal economy and MSMEs, hence raising the income of informal workers. Let’s put an end to employer ‘overkill’ on a fair wage because a wage increase actually lifts all boats,” emphasized Corral.

“In line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s battle call—‘sama-sama tayong babangon muli’—such that no worker should be left behind as we rapidly industrialize, all benefit from higher wages boosting consumer demand and driving inclusive and equitable wage-led growth towards a more prosperous and just Philippine society where Filipino workers and their families rightfully reap the fruits of their labor,” emphasized Deputy Speaker Mendoza.

House Bill No. 7871

Journal Online
A collection of noteworthy information on various topics from the Philippines and the rest of the world.