Tell it to SunStar: December inflation affects Metro Cebu’s P435 minimum wage

By Partido Manggagawa

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) has stated that P73 has been eroded from the P435 minimum wage in Metro Cebu as a result of the continuous rise in prices.

“We call for a new round of wage hikes to recover the lost purchasing power of workers not just in Metro Cebu but also in the whole country due to the surge in inflation. We call on Congress to legislate a P100 across-the-board salary increase for all workers as relief from the shock of rising prices,” said Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.

Inflation in December 2022 reached 8.1 percent, slightly higher than the 8.0 percent inflation in November.

The December inflation figure was the highest recorded since December 2008.

Notably, inflation is higher in areas outside Metro Manila. The consumer price index for December 2022 in Metro Manila was 116.6 while areas outside it was 120.1, according to statistical tables released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PM’s demand for a wage hike is based on a computation by the group using the PSA data.

“The P435 minimum wage in Metro Cebu is actually just worth P362 by December 2022. P73 has been shaved off the real value of the minimum wage. Meaning, not only has the P31 minimum wage hike in June 2022 been effectively wiped out by runaway inflation, workers’ real wages have pushed back even further,” Derige said.

He further said: “Thus, we reiterate the call we made in May 2022—before the recent round of minimum wage hikes in June 2022 by different regional wage boards—for a P100 wage increase. This should be for all workers, not just those at the minimum salary level, since all have suffered from wage erosion.”

The group clarified that the wage hike demand is merely wage recovery.

“We are not yet even talking of workers claiming a just share in the fruits of their labor. From 2001 to 2016, real wages stagnated but labor productivity increased by 50 percent and the GDP (gross domestic product) doubled,” Derige said.

“Of course, employers will again create horror scenarios of closures and bankruptcy against the workers’ demand for a wage hike. They will cry that they are suffering from the economic crisis even though they monopolized the gains of the decade and half-long business boom. Not only does the government owe workers due to unabated inflation but also employers are obligated to share the wealth created by the labor of the working class,” Derige said.