New wage hike for Metro Manila workers affects small businesses —ECOP

New wage hike for Metro Manila workers affects small businesses —ECOP

PRICES of goods and services in the market may further increase following the approval of a new wage increase for workers in Metro Manila by the regional tripartite wages and productivity board.

The Employers Confederation of The Philippines (ECOP) also warned that this could lead to the closure of some small businesses in the country.

15 days after being published in newspapers, workers in the National Capital Region will receive an additional thirty-five pesos in their daily wages.

This comes after the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board approved the wage increase request.

As a result, from the current P610, workers’ daily minimum wage will increase to P645.

However, some minimum wage earners still find the 35 peso increase insufficient, while others have no choice but to accept and stretch the meager wage increase amid the soaring prices of goods and services in the market.

‘’The cost of living is very high. [The wage increase] is not enough for me,’’ Kim said.

‘’For now, it’s not even enough for transportation costs alone. P35, you can’t buy much with that,’’ Gabriel said.

‘’There’s nothing we can do. We just have to make do with what’s given,” Roel said.

’We just have to make P35 work,’’ Erwin said.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines o TUCP, although dismayed, said they were not surprised that only 35 pesos was approved instead of their proposed over 100 pesos wage increase.

‘’We would say that we were not surprised because early on, the business sector already hinted that all they can give is 16 to 25 [pesos], but still, you know, we are very much disappointed because we have been arguing for a 150 [pesos] above increase. In fact, we tied it with our legislative wage hike call. Will workers be happy with a 35 pesos increase? What is the worth of 35 pesos?’’ Paul Gajes Legislative Officer, TUCP said.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines or ECOP, Meanwhile said that they have no choice but to comply with the new wage hike, despite having already increased wages for their employees last year.

According to ECOP President Sergio Ortiz, the most affected by the new wage hike are micro and small businesses, which may close due to the additional increase.

That’s the constitution of employers— 90% are micro [businesses]. Actually, those are not our members but they will have a hard time. Many of our small members are struggling. Many of them are still adjusting because of the recent increase,’’ Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.  President, ECOP

‘’In fact, during the pandemic, more than half of the micro [businesses] closed. Some of them haven’t even reopened yet— still waiting. For new entries, you know how it goes in micro [businesses], that’s the story there, they enter, open for a little bit like 2 or 3 years. Then there will be others entering, leading to closures again,’’ he added.

According to Ortiz, small businesses may be forced to increase the prices of their goods and services in order to recover the expenses for the new wage hike.

‘’Because when there’s a mandated wage increase, companies have a choice—they don’t care about your sales or earnings, your choice is to raise prices, if you can. Raise them more, or if not, reduce staff. If you really can’t do anything, just close down,’’ he said.

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