Workers’ groups commended the “timely” proposal of Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III to increase the salary of healthcare workers (HCWs) in the private sector.
In a statement, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said it supports Bello’s recommendation to the lawmakers to increase the wages and benefits of nurses and other healthcare workers in the private sector “equivalent to at least the benefits of their counterparts in the civil service”.
“The proposal of the Labor Secretary is timely. Congress should now act and act swiftly. It is long overdue, health workers in the private sector are left behind by their counterparts in the public sector,” FFW-Trade Federation and union president Manuel Payao of the UE Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center said.
Vilma Garcia of the La Salle Health and Sciences Employees Union-FFW said the main reason for HCWs going abroad is to seek further opportunities for their families.
“Citizens’ health is a public concern. The government may subsidize or give tax incentives to hospitals and medical institutions to sustain them financially,” Garcia said.
Iloilo Mission Hospital employees’ labor union president Tiffany Ong said they support the proposed salary hike for healthcare workers in private sector.
Ong said their local union, an affiliate of the Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), “firmly” welcomed Bello’s request to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to call on Congress to pass a law that would raise the pay of private health workers.
“This might be our chance to gain success in our effort to amplify the needs of our sector to have a decent salary and wages that truly we can say enough to sustain the present cost of living. Our federations strongly support any move by Congress to raise the salary/wages of private healthcare industry,” she added.
Bello said he raised the salary hike of HCWs in one meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“There is a big discrepancy (on the salary of medical workers from the private and public sectors) and that is the reason why many of our nurses in the private sector are looking to overseas employment rather than stay in our country,” he said.
He said healthcare workers in the private sector, who are working 10 to 12 hours a day, are getting only P18,000 per month.*PNA