Labor NGO backs wage hike for health workers

Members of the Alliance of Health Workers held a demonstration in front of National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) on Friday demanding wage hike.

The latest demonstration of health workers should prompt the upcoming 18th Congress to heed the clamor for a legislated across-the-board wage hike up to P750 daily or P16,000 monthly, a labor NGO said on Friday.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) lauded the members of the Alliance of Health Workers who held a demonstration in front of National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), a government-owned and controlled corporation, to demand wage increase after pump prices of oil products went up for the second straight week.

EILER said that public-sector health workers had not received any significant wage increase under the three years of President Rodrigo Duterte. Moreover, they are still waiting to receive their performance-based bonuses for years 2017 and 2018.

“Price hikes affect workers in both private and public sector. Health workers are also vulnerable because many of them are contractuals receiving low wages. The daily minimum wage earners of P537 in the private-sector and salary grade 1 (P11,348) in the public sector fall short of the daily family living wage of P1,004. What we need is a significant wage increase that will cut across sectors and regions to provide immediate relief from worsening hunger and poverty in the country,” said Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director.

In a country where 7 out of 10 people die without receiving any medical attention, more health workers and better access to health care for all are needed to address the widening gap in need vs. availability of basic health services.

“It is important to increase the number of health workers to achieve quality health care. This means decent and regular jobs with living wages for our health workers. Such a policy will also ensure that those who provide care informally can transition to formal economy and have better access to social protection,” Porras ended.

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