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UNI Global Union’s – Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC) joined forces with other labour groups outside the House of Representatives, demanding the immediate passage of the ₱150 across-the-board legislated wage hike, underscoring the growing discontent among workers who have long suffered from inadequate wages in the face of rising living costs.

Spearheaded by the National Wage Coalition, labour groups are united in their call for lawmakers to prioritize the people’s demand for a long-overdue wage increase, aimed at addressing the soaring cost of living and the substantial rise in labour productivity over the past two decades.

“We stand in solidarity with labour groups in calling for better and higher wages for Filipino workers. It is imperative that our lawmakers hear our collective voice and act to ensure that every worker earns enough to live with dignity and security. The poverty wages must end now,” stressed Roland De La Cruz, President of UNI-PLC.

Since 1989, workers have been subjected to meager wage increases and starvation wages, according to the coalition. According to the Ibon Foundation, majority, if not all, regional minimum wages fall below the poverty threshold set by the government. This chronic failure of the regional wage boards to ensure equitable compensation has led to severe consequences for the labour force. As a result, many workers and their families face widespread malnutrition, struggling daily to secure enough food. This extends beyond nutrition, impacting access to essential services like healthcare and education, thereby perpetuating a cycle of poverty. 

“Even the vital sectors of our society, such as community care and healthcare, are plagued by starvation wages. Now more than ever,  we need to secure better wages for our private health workers and barangay health workers, who play an essential role in maintaining our nation’s well-being,” emphasized Antonio Fulgado, Lead Organizer of UNI-PLC.

Myrna Gaite, President of the BHW National Capital Region Federation, expressed the effect of low wages on women. “In the absence of living wages, female workers are disproportionately burdened with unpaid care responsibilities at home and face gender-based pay disparities in the workplace. This does not only undermine the economic well-being of women but also perpetuates broader social and economic disparities.”

“The call for a ₱150 across-the-board wage hike is a unified demand from labour groups to address the long-standing issue of inadequate wages amidst rising living costs” said Rajendra Acharya, UNI Asia & Pacific Regional Secretary. “Furthermore, workers have suffered for too long under meaner increases and starvation wages. It’s time for lawmakers to prioritize the people’s needs and ensure fair and liveable wages for all,”

Labour groups stress that this long-standing issue not only severely impacts the well-being of individual workers and their families but also hampers overall economic growth, underscoring the urgent need for legislative action. Congress must stop wasting time, as workers’ lives are at stake. Labour groups are now urging the House Committee on Labour, led by Rep. Fidel Nograles, to swiftly prioritize the approval of measures aimed at raising wages.

This initiative is backed by UNI Global Union through Together We Care, a groundbreaking initiative to enhance women’s economic security by fostering a skilled, empowered workforce in the health and care sectors supported by USAID, the Ford Foundation and the CARE Fund.

The Philippines

UNI Asia & Pacific