PH fares poorly in global wage report

Workers' wages in the Philippines are significantly smaller compared to other countries, a report by the United Nations (UN) labor agency showed.

Pinoy workers in the manufacturing sector get an average of $1.41 per hour worked, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said in its "Global Wage Report 2012/13."

This is the lowest wage rate in manufacturing among the 30 countries included in the report, which used data from 2010.

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It also stands in stark contrast to the average wage in Denmark, which topped the list at $34.78 an hour.

Denmark was followed by Switzerland with a rate of $34.29 an hour, Australia ($28.55), Ireland ($26.29) and Germany ($25.80).

Only a notch higher than the Philippines, in the list, meanwhile, are Hungary at $4.74 an hour, Poland ($4.86), Brazil ($5.41) and Slovakia ($6.03).

Such figures, the report said, highlight how "while wages grew significantly in emerging economies, differences in wage levels remain considerable."

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Within countries, gaps between top-earners and minimum wage earners also remain wide, the report said.

"The distance between the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent of wage earners has increased in 23 out of 31 countries since 1995–97..." the report said.

The proportion of those defined as having "low pay" has meanwhile risen in 25 out of 37 economies.

This trend can also be gleaned from figures which show how chunks of the working population remain poor although employed.

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In the Philippines, the so-called "employed working poor" comprised more than 30 percent of the labor population.

This means that nearly a third of Pinoy workers remain under the $2-a-day international poverty line.

Its performance put the Philippines mid-range in the list of countries according to employed poverty.

Madagascar topped the list with nearly 85 percent of workers considered poor while at the bottom of the list was Mexico, where less than 5 percent experience employed poverty.

The report, however, cited the Philippines as one of the countries where improvements may be expected as the government simplified its "complex" minimum wage system.

It also noted that "Asia has experienced several developments in the realm of minimum wage growth and minimum wage setting."

"Across the region, minimum wage growth has been positive in almost all countries since 2005," the ILO said.


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