ECOP warned against the negative repercussions of an increase in minimum wage. In a paper submitted to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-NCR) summarizing the points it raised during the public hearings convened to discuss new adjustment in wages, ECOP said such an increase will be particularly injurious to micro, small and medium enterprises almost 21 percent of which are found in NCR.
The document said in order to comply, SMEs may retrench or lay-off workers or pass on the burden to consumers through increase in prices of goods and commodities thus negating whatever upward adjustment is made on minimum wage.
It further argued that if SMEs could not comply, they may go underground where they will not be covered by labor laws or close shop which will worsen employment and underemployment.
ECOP also said that increases in minimum wage will only benefit a small number of the labor force, thus exacerbating the conditions of and neglecting the unemployed sector.
There are approximately two (2) million minimum wage earners in the Philippines. This is only about 5 percent of the approximately 40 million labor force. In the NCR, the estimated number of minimum wage earners stands at 952,485.
The document added that the millions of unemployed and underemployed not benefitting from any minimum wage increase are all the more deprived of the opportunity to be absorbed in the labor force within the ambit of labor laws and enjoy the benefits provided therein.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has called for a Php344 increase in the minimum wage.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello announced on November 5 that minimum wage workers in the NCR will be receiving an additional Php25 to their current Php512 daily pay.