Salary Standardization Law 3: For Whose Benefit?


The Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) says that the proposed salary adjustment by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is totally unfair for the 1.4 million employees who toil for almost 12 hours everyday despite the low salary.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Bulatlat

During the Sept. 3 National Budget hearing in the House of Representatives, Budget Secretary Rolando G. Andaya Jr., said that the national government has earmarked, for the proposed Salary Standardization Law 3 (SSL3), P20 billion (US$428.68 million) from the proposed P1.4 trillion ($30.07 billion at the Sept. 19 exchange rate of $1:P46.56) national budget for next year. This, he said, will be used for the first tranche of the SSL3 in 2009.

The SSL3 will be implemented over a four-year period, beginning next year, according to Andaya.

According to Andaya, if the SSL3 is implemented, those who hold the rank of Teacher I and Nurse I in 2009, will have a salary increase from P12,026 to P13,542 or 12.6 percent higher than their current salary rates.

When SSL3 is implemented in full, their rate shall be at P18,088 per month.

On the other hand, Medical Officers I (doctors) and Legal Officers I (lawyers) will have an increase by 79.2 percent from P15,181 to P27,198, said Andaya.

The budget secretary also said that the two grade levels for teachers and nurses will also be upgraded from Grade 10 to Grade 11, while for doctors and lawyers are from Grade 14 to Grade 16.

Utility workers and those who are in clerical positions will on the average receive a 30-percent salary increase.

Unfair

However, the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) says that the proposed salary adjustment by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is totally unfair for the 1.4 million employees who toil for almost 12 hours everyday despite the low salary.

Calling the SSL3 a “recycled version” of the Government Classification and Compensation Act earlier filed in Congress, which essentially gave higher compensation to professionals and executives and “starvation pay” to the rank and file as benchmark, Courage national president Ferdinand R. Gaite said implementing SSL3 would be like giving more meat to those who are already full while at the same time throwing only crumbs to those who are really hungry.

“Those who need the increase more should get the higher adjustments. The P20-billion allotment for pay hikes in the proposed national budget should benefit the metro aides, clerks, drivers, machine operators, public school teachers, nurses and other public health workers and other employees who are at the front-line of delivering vital services to the public. Otherwise, it will be another self-serving piece of legislation and an affront to the employees,” he explained.

Gaite accused the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government of driving a wedge between those who earn more and have allowances, pork barrel, discretionary funds and other privileges at their disposal.

The militant leader also said that any salary increase, both for private and public sector workers, must be on the basis of social justice, not patronage.

In 2006 the government implemented a what was supposed to be a P1,000 across-the-board salary increase grant. But not all government employees benefited from it.

“Most of the workers from the local government units (LGUs) did not get increases in their salary,” he said. Gaite added that many local government employees who got salary increases did so through the savings of their respective LGUs.

Gaite said that government workers’ unions must be strong and united to be able to negotiate for salary increases.

To date, the lowest paid government employee receives a gross pay of around P6,126, sans mandatory deductions like withholding tax, GSIS and PAG-IBIG premiums, etc.

Gaite stressed that they are still for a P3,000 across-the-board nationwide salary increase but definitely shall oppose the “outrageous pay hike biased for top officials.” (Bulatlat)

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