Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Balancing Act.

We are definitely going through hard times. The prices of basic commodities are going up while the spending power of minimum wage earners is waning. It is but understandable for workers to ask for a wage increase when their paycheck can no longer keep up with the rising cost of living. But will a wage increase help solve the problem? Based on today’s reports, the National Wage and Productivity Commission only approved a Php22 increase to the ECOLA of minimum wage earners.

Some labor groups have been clamoring for a PHP125 across the board increase which they think is enough to ease the burden of ordinary workers. This is ideal. The question is if this is attainable. We have to remember that even employers or local companies are going through hard times. Not all of them are capable of shouldering the wage increase. We may think this is silly. But come to think of it, not all businesses are flourishing these days. The last thing that we want to do is to force these employers to close their shops thereby losing more jobs.

Some regarded the P22 ECOLA increase as an insult. I heard someone commented on TV that Filipinos are world-class workers and they deserve just and decent compensation. I totally agree. But the government cannot stop private businesses from closing shop or laying off workers.

What the government did was a balancing act. It cannot burden the employers too much to force them out of business which may result to more unemployed people. Employers, however, said that they can only give a little over P13. We all agree that people need to cope up with the rising cost of basic commodities.

What the government needs to do is to come up with more concrete programs and long-term solutions to problems plaguing the country for decades now such as poverty and unemployment. I think the government should focus its efforts on generating more jobs and providing other opportunities to people while making the country a good place for businesses to thrive. Trainings programs should be readily accessible to people who would want to improve their skills and look for more lucrative jobs.

The government can only do so much. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our lives. Our government will not feed us all. We have to work hard to attain our goals and free ourselves from poverty. There are only limited opportunities out there. Many people are jobless so you are sure that there will be other people vying for the job that you want. Stiff competition is guaranteed. What we should do is to make sure that we are equipped with the necessary training and skills that will propel us to get our ideal job.

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