THE Worker’s Initiative for Wage Increase (Win for Win) on Monday asked the Calabarzon wage board to increase the daily minimum wage in the region to P750 to help workers deal with the rising prices of basic goods.

In a five-page petition, the coalition said it proposed wage hikes of P280, P321, P360 and P400 for what it said were the four wage classes in Calabarzon, which consists of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

“Increasing the minimum wage will have a positive impact on the macroeconomy as workers and their families will have increased purchasing power, which will boost consumption and benefit retail businesses,” it said.

Last year, the Calabarzon regional wage board implemented a new daily minimum wage for three categories of worker — of P470 for non-agricultural workers; P429 for agricultural workers; and P350 in retail and service establishments with not more than 10 workers.

Wage boards can only act on petitions a year after a region’s last wage order.

Citing data from think tank IBON Foundation, Win for Win said the minimum living wage in Calabarzon for a family of five should at least be P1,087.

“The workers assert that a substantial increase in minimum wages is urgent, necessary and just,” Win for Win said in a separate statement.

It said rising prices of commodities represent a “supervening event” that justifies higher wages. The labor coalition cited the war between Russia and Ukraine as a factor that continues to elevate fuel prices.

In a separate statement, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) backed the proposal and urged the Calabarzon wage board to immediately act on Win for Win’s wage petition.

“The proposed wage hike will go a long way in helping these workers cope with the rising cost of living and necessities for their families,” it said.

Inflation in February eased to 8.6%, from a 14-year high of 8.7% a month earlier as prices of food and utilities remained high. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects inflation to average 6.1% this year.

Under the Labor Code, wage boards must consider the demand for a living wage, the impact of wage adjustments on the consumer price index, the changes in the cost of living in the region, and the needs of workers and their families, among others.

Last week, the United for Wage Increase Now! filed a petition to bring the current P570 minimum wage in the National Capital Region to P1,110.

Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri has filed a bill seeking to increase the minimum wage for private sector workers by P150 nationwide, which he said could help workers deal with the rising prices of goods and services.

The Makabayan bloc also proposed a wage increase at the House of Representatives, seeking a P750 hike for all private sector workers, those working in special economic zones, freeports and in the agricultural sector.

“The high cost of living coupled with job losses and reduced working hours have made it almost impossible for many to make ends meet,” FFW said.

“This is the reason why FFW joins the call for the government and employers to prioritize the welfare of our workers and ensure that they receive just compensation for their labor. — John Victor D. Ordoñez