By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY — In a press release on June 1, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate replied to an argument that wages should not be raised because it would lead to inflation. He called it “anti-workers, unjust, erroneous.”
“It is blatantly anti-worker and unjust to deny wage hikes because of the allegations that it will jack up prices. On the contrary prices have already been increasing for years but wages are stuck at some P500 in Metro Manila and worse P300 plus in many provinces even if the cost of living already skyrocketed to P1,200 for a family of six,” Zarate asserted.
Zarate also said that the call for a P750 national minimum wage is only meant to cover additional expenses due to overpricing, the TRAIN law and other factors.
“It is erroneous to insist that nationwide wage hikes is inflationary. Increases in wages will lead to decrease in profits of capitalist but won’t affect the basis of price which is the average labour time embodies in commodities, said Zarate.
“Nationwide wages hikes may temporarily affect the prices of some commodities because of the increased purchasing power of workers and employees but this will be very temporary as profit-motivated capitalists will move to increase their production to meet the increased demands. Sooner than later, supply will be at par or may even exceed demands.”
Moreover, according to Zarate, nationwide wage hikes will spur more production and create jobs as capitalists go where demands are high.
In another statement, Zarate called out the Employer’s Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) for calling the proposed P750 National Minimum Wage as a “disaster” especially for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). He called it a “baseless scare tactic” by “greedy” companies who do not want to lose profit.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board proposes an P18-23 wage hike which Zarate called as a move to “stifle” the call for P750 National Minimum Wage.
“IBON Philippines study shows that the business sector has amassed a massive profit of P1.63 Trillion in 2014. The P750 national minimum wage would transfer just P448 billion to workers’ pockets, which is only 27.4% decrease in profits. This still leaves employers with a significant 72.6%, or P1.18 trillion, of their clean profits.” said the statement.
Zarate said that government must find ways to support MSMEs in light of the proposed national minimum wage. This may include immediately providing cheap and easy credit, giving research, development and marketing support, nurturing locally integrated supply chains, and improving their scientific and technological capabilities.
With Zarate countering ECOP’s claim that only 7 million workers will benefit from the wage bill, he said that up to 20 million workers in private establishments might benefit as the bill provides for appropriate raising of salaries of all employees to correct any wage distortion.
Zarate said that if the P750 national minimum wage is approved, together with the P16,000 minimum salary demanded by the public sector employees, at least 25.775 million wage and salaried workers will benefit. There are 3.397 million workers in the government or government corporation as of January 2018 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. #nordis.net