THE country’s regional wage boards (RWBs) would do well to move now -- and fast -- in providing private sector workers immediate relief from the skyrocketing costs of basic goods and services.
Despite the rising prices of almost everything in the Philippines, it is certainly lamentable and saddening that only four of the nation’s 17 RWBs have so far ordered daily minimum pay hikes.
“Measured minimum wage increases are now more than justified, so we are counting on the (regional wage) boards to do their job,” according to Rep. Luis Campos Jr. of Makati City.
A deputy minority leader in the House of Representatives, Campos said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) itself expects consumer price adjustments to gather steam in the current quarter.
“The BSP has basically implied that the 5.2 percent inflation rate in June -- already the highest in more than five years -- is bound to worsen before it eases,” added the highly-articulate lawmaker.
Records show that in this impoverished nation, there are an estimated 4.1 million minimum wage earners in the private sector, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).
Government-employed employees are in a better position to cope with higher inflation, said Campos.
Public servants, he said, received the third installment of their salary adjustments in January this year, and are expected to receive the fourth and last increment in January 2019.
Admittedly, however, some private firms in various parts of the country may not be able to grant a hefty minimum wage increase because they are buffeted by financial and other problems.
And in the view of many, there’s that urgent need for both labor and management to iron out their differences through negotiations.
We cannot afford to have workers unrest.