Depressed Wages Result To Over-employment In Philippines

July 14, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 14 Jul) – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Saturday said depressed wages have resulted in the over-employment of some 7.6 million workers in the country.

The figure is nearly one-fourth of all employed Filipinos, it said. “Wages here are grossly inadequate. This is why a growing number of labor force participants are being driven to seek extra work and additional income,” TUCP spokesperson Alex Aguilar said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

He said workers are being forced to toil longer hours simply because their take home pay is not enough to cover the daily cost of decent living.

Aguilar was reacting to a government report indicating that nearly five of every 20 employed Filipinos were found to be over-employed last year.

The Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment, prepared the report, he said.

“Collated from the National Statistics Office’s quarterly labor force surveys, the BLES report showed that of the 33 million Filipinos on the job, about 23 percent or 7.6 million were over-employed,” he said.

Aguilar described the reported massive over-employment as “a labor market distortion,” caused primarily by low and insufficient wages.

“This is a distortion because if a person is earning enough for an eight-hour job, then he or she would not have to look for additional work that ought to be performed by someone else who is totally jobless or underemployed,” Aguilar said.

The TUCP has a pending petition for a P75-increase in the statutory regional minimum wage for workers in Metro Manila. The regional tripartite wages and productivity board began deliberating on the petition last week.

“We are definitely counting on the wage board to provide instant relief to our workers,” Aguilar said.

Employers said an increase in wages would only aggravate unemployment.“That is old hat. Those opposed to giving workers higher wages always try play up and exaggerate the ghost of job losses,” Agular said.

“On the contrary, higher wages will drive up personal consumption expenditure, create new demand for good and services, and thus prop up domestic industries and employment,” he said.

The BLES report indicated that more than half of all over-employed Filipinos, or about 4.1 million, were men.

The report also showed that the bulk of the over-employed — 58.5 percent or 4.4 million — worked for extra income. About 40 percent or three million gave “job requirement” as another reason for working excessively.

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