Labor groups urge immediate grant of NCR workers wage hike

MANILA Labor groups on Thursday urged the government to immediately grant salary increase for workers particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the impending increase in public transportation fares.

According to Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, it is imperative for the NCR wage board to implement an increase on workers' pay.

However, with the fare increase, there is now a very urgent need for the Metro Manila wage board to grant a substantial wage increase for workers in the NCR for them to survive in the light of the extraordinary increases in prices of basic goods and costs of services in the past ten months including this PHP1 jeepney fare increase, he said in a statement.

The NCR wage board is set to meet on Oct. 22 to begin to determine how much is the wage increase for workers.

The group, however, backed the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB)'s jeepney fare hike decision.

We will not object to the PHP1 PUJ fare increase at this time because the increase will improve the take home pay of our jeepney drivers and help their families cope with the current incredible inflation," he said.

Also, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) urged the wage board to fast track the approval of the pay adjustments of workers.

Before the fare increase takes effect, the wage board should act soon. A paltry salary increase of 20 pesos in Metro Manila will most likely be eaten up this fare increase, FFW Vice President Julius Caiglet said in a separate statement.

The fare increase will of course greatly impact the minimum wage earner the most. We do understand that it is necessary to help fellow workers--jeepney drivers to cope with the rising cost of fuel, he added.

For his part, Rene Magtubo, chairman of Partido Manggagawa said the fare increase would provide additional income for jeepney drivers but additional cost to minimum wage earners.

Likewise, he asked for the approval of wage increase for employees.

The fare hike would necessarily become an argument for workers in the National Capital Region on their demand for a minimum wage hike that government should act accordingly, the labor group official said.

Government should also act fast to lower the price of rice and other basic commodities in order to ease the burden of workers' families affected by the runaway inflation, he added.

On Wednesday, the LTFRB approved a PHP2 increase in minimum fare of PUJs, raising it to PHP10 starting November.

The LTFRB decision made permanent the PHP1 provisional fare hike earlier implemented in July and an additional PHP1 for the first four kilometers.

On Thursday, the agency also gave approved a provisional fare hike of PHP1 for public utility buses. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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