DTI says minimal wage hike would not hurt

Published by rudy Date posted on March 30, 2011

TO lessen the burden of rising inflation on consumers, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it would urge employers to hike wages, albeit minimally.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told reporters that the calls for a wage increase were “reasonable” given the high prices of basic commodities.

But Domingo said that wages should only be jacked up to a level that would remain competitive to investors.

“It’s OK to increase wages as long as it’s reasonable . . . We [the Trade department] can talk to them [employers] to agree to a reasonable increase,” Domingo said.

Domingo said that with inflation breaching 4 percent, a wage hike that was a little higher than 4 percent might be of help to consumers.

The department on Tuesday kicked off in Pasig City the “Palengke ng Pinoy [Diskwento Caravan],” wherein consumers can buy products at low prices.

The caravan would also be held in other Metro Manila cities as well as would reach the provinces, Domingo said.

Basic commodities such as bread, cooking oil, noodles, processed meats, soap and medicines, among others, will be for sale at 20-percent up to 70-percent cheaper prices at the Palengke ng Pinoy.

Domingo said that the Diskwento Caravan aims to provide consumers relief amid high global prices.

But the official said that domestic prices were expected to go down, citing for instance that the declining global wheat prices would likely result to stable flour prices in the coming months and possible reduction in bread prices.

“At least for now global prices have stabilized, unless fuel prices again rise globally because of [political instability in] the Middle East,” Domingo said.

But steel prices would likely go up as demand is expected to rise in light of reconstruction work in disaster-stricken Japan, he said. –BEN ARNOLD O. DE VERA, Manila Times

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