by Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star), Mar 3, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Party-list group ACTS-OFW is seeking a daily minimum wage of P900 for construction workers to help address a looming shortage due to migration.
“We are losing a great deal of good construction laborers to other countries that are paying up to 10 times the P537 daily minimum wage in Metro Manila,” Rep. John Bertiz said yesterday.
He cited the case of New Zealand, where Filipino construction workers are getting on average the equivalent of P5,300 (or NZ$150) as daily wage, without counting benefits.
“This is why the government has to raise substantially the floor wage for construction workers. Our sense is, many of them would prefer to stay here at home with their families, as long as they get higher pay,” Bertiz said.
He said wage boards are allowed by law to set minimum wages by industry or economic sector, and not just by region.
ACTS-OFW is not the first group to openly call for higher wages for construction workers.
The chief executive officer of DMCI Holdings Inc., one of the country’s largest construction companies, previously said he favors a daily minimum wage of between P737 and P837 for construction workers.
Higher wages for construction laborers are needed, DMCI president Isidro Consunji said.
“They (construction workers) are exposed to the elements (heat and rain). It’s a lot heavier work and a lot riskier (compared to those in other industries such as manufacturing or services),” he said.
He admitted that his firm is having difficulty looking for construction workers.
The Duterte administration’s economic growth strategy is partly anchored on a P9-trillion public infrastructure development program that includes 75 big-ticket projects.
This week, the Department of Transportation broke ground for the construction of the country’s first underground rapid passenger transit system – the 36-kilometer Mega Manila Subway.