The daily minimum wage must be increased by at least 56% to help workers deal with the twin threats of the pandemic and fuel price hikes spawned by Ukraine's invasion of Russia, a labor group said Wednesday.
Employers, however, said the P300 to P800 increase from the current P537 minimum wage could not be funded as businesses need funds to fully reopen after two years of strict coronavirus quarantines.
"Kulang na kulang ang P537... 'Yung kanilang figure, ang isang pamilya na binubuo ng limang katao ay kasya na raw sa kanila ang P9,000+ kada buwan," Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress Of The Philippines spokesman Alan Tanjusay told TeleRadyo.
Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday he had directed the wage boards across the country to review the minimum wage with decision due in April.
The minimum wage thresholds across the country was last updated in 2015, Tanjusay said.
Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, said government should provide relief to workers instead of a minimum wage increase. He said half of micro and small businesses remain closed due to the global health crisis.
"Unang-una gusto nating magbukas ang mga 'yan e kasi kalahati nagsara e paano magbubukas 'yan kung 'di tutulungan, sino puwede magtulong e nagsara na nga may-ari e," he told TeleRadyo.
"Importante sa economic recovery natin makatrabaho ang mga tao. Kung 'di makakatrabaho mga tao, ano inaasahan natin?" he said.
Tanjusay said the government could provide ayuda or cash subsidy for workers, interest-free loans for micro and small enterprises, and tax exemptions and possibly tax incentives for micro and small businesses.
"Siguro magkakaisa kami kung together we ask the help of the government to intervene during this time," he said.