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Wage clustering better than regionalization, but one national minimum wage best – PM

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The proposal of Representative Joel Chua (3rd District of Manila) to replace the current wage regionalization scheme with a wage clustering system is being welcomed by Partido Manggagawa (PM), in the sense that it is founded on a recognition of the failures of the existing wage fixing system and thus opens a window for a discussion of a better mechanism.

 “Wage clustering is better than regionalization but one national minimum wage is best,” Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, said in a press release.

He added that “We agree, as Rep. Chua asserts, that wage regionalization has led a huge gap between wages of regions that are not substantiated by differences in cost of living, and also has led to complexity in implementation as the DOLE has to monitor almost 50 minimum wages across the country.”

For this reason, PM is pushing for a national minimum wage as a floor. Differences between actual wages should be based on seniority, skills, and productivity, according to the group.

“Also, while we insist that a replacement to the wage regionalization mechanism is also overdue, let us not lose sight of the immediate demand for a P150 across-the-board legislated wage recovery,” Magtubo emphasized.

PM is advocating for an “Apat na Dapat” in regard to the wage issue at the moment: P150 across the board wage increase to recover wage loss due to inflation (immediate); non-wage benefits to enhance take home pay (for example: suspension of Philhealth contributions, reduction in withholding taxes for fixed income earners, social security subsidies, etc.);

Review and amend RA 6727 with the end in view of having uniform wage rates and satisfying the constitutional mandate of granting workers a living wage; enhance wage and benefits setting thru collective bargaining negotiations by implementing the recommendations of the International Labour Organization’s High-Level Tripartite Mission so that workers can exercise freedom of association without harassment and intimidations, and unwarranted regulations.*

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