The labor group is asking employers to provide a pay rise.

Zubiri softens and is now open to a P100 pay hike

Better pay now / Health workers of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) and National Children's Hospital (NCH) clamored in front of the POC in Quezon City on June 27, 2023 to urge the Marcos administration for a subsidy wage increase. (Question File Photo / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE)

MANILA, Philippines – Hoteliers can afford to pay their workers more as the tourism industry is already recovering from losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a labor group said Sunday.

According to the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), the tourism industry has recovered from the impact of travel restrictions brought on by the global pandemic and is now in a „good position” to support increasing the salaries of its workers.

Citing data from the Department of Tourism (DOT), the labor group said five million international tourists visited the Philippines, bringing the country about P480 billion in tourism receipts by 2023.

Read: More than 1.2 million international visitors arrived in first two months of 2024 – DOT

„FFW argues that the tourism sector is also well-positioned to support workers' wage hikes. This economic boom indicates a strong capacity in the sector to accommodate the proposed P150 wage hike,” it said in a statement.

International visitors to the Philippines surpassed 1.2 million in the first two months of 2024 — a 22.89 percent increase from the same period last year, a recent DOT report noted.

FFW said this contradicted the claims of Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) president Arthur Lopez.

Lopez wrote a letter to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, saying the industry is still in a fragile state following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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To hoteliers and managers, the labor group said, „P150 is for coffee only.”

„They should give some of that coffee money to their workers — regular, contract, seasonal or agency-supplied workers here in the Philippines,” FFW added.

The group called on the House of Representatives to quickly pass a bill similar to the Senate-approved P100 wage hike bill so that workers can enjoy higher salaries on May 1 for Labor Day.

A P100 daily minimum wage hike bill was approved in the Senate in February.

Read: Senate approves P100 daily wage hike bill

“Unions are aiming for higher wages President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. declared Labor Day, May 1, as the „gift of workers.”

The House Committee on Labor is set to vote Wednesday on a full debate on the wage hike proposal.

Some associations of employers and business owners opposed the proposal for a full wage hike.

They said it would be „disastrous” for micro, small and medium enterprises as they could not afford such a huge wage hike.

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