PHL wage growth outstripped food prices in 2022

PHILSTAR

MINIMUM WAGES in the Philippines increased faster than the prices of basic food products, according to research firm Picodi.com.

In its study on global minimum wages, the firm ranked the Philippines 35th  out of the 67 countries that raised their standard monthly pay last year.

“In Asia-Pacific countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, basic food costs over half of the minimum income,” the research firm said. “Compared to the previous year, this year the minimum wage grew faster than the prices of products.”

It said the Philippines’ net monthly minimum pay in January was P8,066, up 9.2% from a year earlier.

Argentina topped the list with the largest year-to-year minimum wage increase of 104.5%, bringing its current standard pay to the equivalent of $336.

A basket of basic food items that sustains an average adult in the Philippines is worth about P5,304 and took up about 65.8% of a Filipino worker’s net monthly wages in January, lower than the year-earlier share of 68%, Picodi said.

“This means that the wages of those paid the least increased faster than food prices,” Picodi said.

The Philippines placed 64th among the 67 countries in terms of the ratio of basic food prices to the net minimum wage. In the UK, food products only accounted for 6.5% of a worker’s monthly pay.

In the first half of 2022, global wages fell in real terms for the first time in the 21st century, the International Labor Organization said in December.

Headline inflation hit a 14-year high in December of 8.1%, against the 8% posted a month earlier.

Philippine labor groups have said workers continue to struggle with low wages despite the recovery from the pandemic.

The National Wages Productivity Commission and tripartite wage boards are studying the need for more wage hikes amid increasing prices of basic commodities, Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma earlier said.

The Metro Manila board last year imposed a P33 minimum wage increase. Wage boards can only act on wage petitions a year after a region’s last wage order. — John Victor D. Ordoñez