By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has expressed dismay over the decision of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) National Capital Region to junk their wage petition.
TUCP President Raymond Democrito Mendoza said it showed the gross insensitivity of the RTWPB to the plight of workers and their families.
“The RTWPB of NCR clearly acted in bad faith in not even going into the merits of the case. With the wages that Filipino workers receive, our petition precisely pointed out that workers and their families – based on their minimum wages – can only feed themselves and their families nutritionally deficient meals,” he said in a statement.
“A competent and globally competitive workforce will not be achievable if we have a malnourished labor force that is prey to illnesses and unable to reach their full potential,” added Mendoza.
He said the capacity of the Filipino worker to produce world-class talent and skills is wasted when the current and next generation of workers have to deal with pangs of hunger and the struggle to feed their family.
“How can the government expect the people to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing work environment when the future of this country go to school and go to bed hungry?” Mendoza asked.
TUCP earlier filed a petition for a daily wage increase of PHP710 in NCR to be added to the existing minimum wage of PHP537.
Using the “Pinggang Pinoy” model of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition and Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), TUCP pointed out that using the existing minimum wage of P537 in NCR, and utilizing the projected expenditure rate of 42.5% for food, the budget per person per meal for a family of 5 would amount to a measly budget of PHP10.05.
However, the group said the RTWPB dismissed the wage petition on the mere technicality that the wage petition was filed within the one year period from the last wage order.
“The RTWPBs said there was no supervening event such as an unusual increase in the prices of basic goods like petroleum, and services for a designated period. TUCP asks! Isn’t hunger a supervening event?” asked Mendoza
In a Board Resolution dated June 7, the RTWPB NCR said there is no supervening conditions which would merit a review of the minimum wage rates.
“Now, therefore, the Board resolves, as it hereby resolves without delving into the substance, that the petitions for wage increase filed by BPO Industry Employees Network, Pambansang Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa, Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines, and TUCP cannot be given due course at this time,” it read.