Employers told to police ranks over minimum wage violations

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) today called on employers groups to help arrest the growing number of firms violating minimum wage rates.

The TUCP made the appeal after the Labor Department reported that some 52% of firms in the country are not paying the correct minimum wages. Latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) shows that more than half of the 343 firms inspected in Metro Manila are not complying with prevailing minimum wage rates.

“If these is happening in Metro Manila, how much more in the provinces and regions where inspections are far from the reach of labor officials,” TUCP said.

The same data shows that in the Ilocos regions and Southern Tagalog minimum wage violations go as high as 63% to 83%.

“If it was not so much to ask, we urge responsible employers groups to police their ranks particularly those that constantly violate standards on minimum wages,” TUCP said.

The TUCP disclosed that the violations increased dramatically in the last few years. Two years ago, in the same survey conducted by BLES the violations run somewhere from 40% to 46%. “It is very troubling that instead of going down, the rate is going up and we are only talking here of firms inspected by the labor department. How about those that have not been reached by the labor department?” said the TUCP.

“Obviously, the labor department can not do it alone owing to their lack of labor inspectors and the overwhelming number of firms in the country. Trade Unions on the other hand, while very willing to help weed out violators, are not authorized to do inspections. We ask responsible employers organizations, particularly the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the PhilExport, the Makati Business Club, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the like to come up with measures to prevail upon their constituencies to follow basic labor standards,” TUCP said in the statement.

“This is something that they can contribute to ensuring stable employer-employee relations. This will also help in renewing confidence and a good step towards corporate social responsibility,” TUCP added.

The labor group also added that non-payment of minimum wages and other standard labor entitlements such as remittance of contributions to the SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig are the common causes of labor disputes.

The TUCP also added that when employers fail to pay the correct wages Government also loses on tax collection. “Remember that the basis of withholding taxes is always the 10% of gross monthly pay. When employers underpay their workers, the basis is lowered, causing government to lose on much needed revenue,” TUCP said.

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