SENATOR Raffy Tulfo is pushing for “decent” wages for government workers as he lamented that many government workers, including local street sweepers and traffic aides, are still being paid below the industry standards.
The senator from Isabela stressed that the government should serve as a good example to encourage private companies to comply with the labor standards as stated by the law.
“It is important to lead by example. Kung ang gobyerno ay hindi nagbibigay ng tamang pasahod sa mga empleyado, how can we expect private companies to comply to labor standards and properly compensate their employees?” he asked, adding: “Kailangang maipakita ng gobyerno na mahalaga ang pagsunod sa labor standards sa batas kahit gaano ka man kaliit or kalaki na industriya. Ito ay para na din matigil na ang pang-aabuso sa mga manggagawa, lalo na sa private companies kung saan talamak din, hindi lamang ang ‘di sapat na pasahod, kundi pati na rin ang contractualization.”
Under Local Budget Circular (LBC) No. 143 (s. 2022), the salary of street sweepers and traffic aides depends on the income classification of Local Government Units (LGUs).
Street sweepers, as indicated in the LBC, can earn a maximum of P14,993 a month to as low as P8,648, which is equivalent to an estimate of P376 a day. Traffic aides, for their part, can earn a maximum of P17,899 a month to as low as P9,181 or P399 a day.
“Marami pa rin sa street sweepers at traffic aides ang sumasahod below industry standard dahil nakasalalay pa din sa financial capacity ng bawat LGU ang sahod na matatanggap nila. Habang mas mababa ang income classification ng LGU ay mas mababa pa sa minimum wage ang suweldo ng mga traffic aides at street sweepers natin,” Tulfo said, adding that street sweepers and traffic aides are considered the country’s frontliners, especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic wherein they continued reporting to work despite the dangers brought about by the global health crisis.
Tulfo lamented that there are still many government employees without the security of tenure and earning below minimum wages in various municipalities.
“Sila marahil ang may pinakamahirap na trabaho — nakababad sa araw o ‘di kaya ay nauulanan at nakakalanghap ng polusyon. May kalakip ding panganib ang trabaho nila pero ang kapalit ay maliit at ‘di sapat na sweldo,” he said.
If the government is serious about protecting workers’ rights and fighting against unjust labor practices, Tulfo said, it must start by ensuring that people working for the government earn a decent salary.