The demand of progressive workers’ federations for the re-installation of a national minimum wage and pegged at Php750, along with the abolition of the regional wage boards, is an immediate, important and doable step towards making economic growth genuinely inclusive and addressing worsening inequality in the country. Based on IBON estimates, raising the average daily basic pay from the nationwide average of some Php367.35 to the proposed Php750 national minimum wage transfers just Php448 billion to workers’ pockets – this is only 27.4% decrease in profits, which still leaves employers with a significant 72.6% (Php1.18 trillion) of their clean profits. On the other hand, each worker will be able to take home, on average, an additional Php8,364.00 per month.
The amount of profits transferred to workers’ wages was computed based on data from the latest (2014) Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) of the PSA. The census shows that 35,009 establishments with employment of over 20 or over had Php1.63 trillion in total profits and 4.13 million employees.
The country’s largest corporations and wealthiest families are the most able to absorb the wage hike. In fact, the total cost of proposed Php750 national minimum is only equivalent to 20% of the total net worth of the 10 richest Filipinos.
Meanwhile, the government can ensure special support for small producers of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help them cope with the proposed national minimum wage. This includes immediately providing cheap and easy credit, giving research, development and marketing support, nurturing locally integrated supply chains, and improving their scientific and technological capabilities. (Excerpt from Continuing Wage Depression, IBON Facts & Figures, April 2017.)