By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News – The Philippines has the highest wages for workers among third world countries in Asia, according to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).
This after President Aquino shot down proposals for a P125 across-the-board wage increase during his Labor Day speech.
Data from ECOP showed that the minimum daily wage in Metro Manila stands at almost $10 a day compared to $2.20 in Vietnam, $2 in Cambodia, $2.90-$3.00 in Indonesia,$5.20-$5.90 in Thailand and $3.75-$5.00 in China.
ECOP president Ed Lacson said in a globalized economy, if labor is expensive, exported products and the manufacturing sector will lose.
Asked if the P426 daily mininum wage would be enough for the expenses of a family of 6, Lacson said the assumption is there are more than one employed family member so the daily wage is augmented.
ECOP earlier said it will push for around P8 hike in daily wages but will follow whatever is approved by the wage board.
However, Lacson warned that “one cannot squeeze blood out of stone”, insinuating the possibility of downsizing the workforce or worse, shutdown of business if employers can no longer afford to give salary increase.
Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization (Philfoodex) president Bobby Amores, laments that manufacturers of food and agricultural products are at a disanvantage over neighboring Asian countries not just from high labor costs, but also expensive power cost
“Let’s cut costs to save jobs, not cut jobs to save costs,” Amores said.
ECOP is also asking for an Employers Day so they can also highlight the plight of business owners especially in the Philippines, where 99% of enterprises are small and medium scale businesses.
Lacson has a final message for labor groups who marched in the streets on Labor Day: “Kung ano po ang nakakagaling sa kompanya, makakagaling din sa inyo. Don’t ask for anything na hindi kaya… Ang kalaban po natin ay kahirapan, hindi kami.”