As Senate labor chair, Estrada seeks to strike balance in wage hike push

(PHILSTAR) MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said Wednesday he hopes to strike a balance between the interests of workers and employers amid the push led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to pass a law that would grant a nationwide minimum daily wage increase of P150 for all private sector employees.

Estrada, who chairs the Senate labor panel that will tackle Zubiri’s proposal, said that while he agrees that a wage hike is needed, it is important to balance the needs of workers and employers “to ensure job preservation and job creation.”

“I think we need to strike a balance between the interests of workers and their employers who also suffered from the pandemic,” Estrada said in a statement.

He added that he would like to listen to comments from labor groups, employers and the government for a “mutually beneficial” outcome for workers and employers.

Zubiri filed Tuesday a bill that seeks to hike the minimum wages of private sector workers, citing the urgency to ease the effects of red-hot inflation that hit a 14-year high in January.

“A decent life costs a decent wage,” he said in a statement. “If workers are putting in hours and hours of labor, day after day, and yet are still unable to afford their rent, bills and basic necessities, then there is a problem.” — Xave Gregorio