A PETITION for P130 to P150 daily minimum wage increase for workers in Western Visayas was filed yesterday by the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (Paciwu-TUCP) before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas.
Signed by Paciwu-TUCP national vice president for Visayas Joan Cristales, the petition sought to increase the salary of minimum wage earners in the region depending on the classification of their work.
Hernane Braza, national president of Paciwu-TUCP, said they asked for a daily increase of P150 for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers.
Those with less than 10 employers, the increase should be P130, he said.
Under the proposed increase, agricultural plantations with more than 24-hectare area should provide a P140 daily increase. Those in area of less than 24 hectares, with P130 additional pay.
Braza, also a labor representative to the RTWPB-6, said the provision on classification of workers is not yet amended, from which they based their latest petition for wage increase.
“These are the ideal increases to restore the P323.50 daily minimum wage,” he said, adding that with the impact of higher prices of fuel and electricity, “these adjustments are necessary for workers to cope.”
Under the current Wage Order No. 23, which will expire on March 16, the daily minimum wage rate in non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers is P323.50.
For those employing less than 10 workers, the existing rate is P271.50.
Workers in the agriculture sector, meanwhile, are receiving daily minimum wages of P281.50 and P271.50 for plantation and non-plantation, respectively.
Braza pointed out that the rates provided under the new petition are based on the capacity of the employers to pay.
Classification of workers is necessary since each “category” deserves different wage increase.
This is mainly because of the nature of the industry, Braza said.
He noted that commercial establishments and sugar mills, for instance, have higher income compared to “small” businesses which cannot be pressured to pay more or else they will face bankruptcy.
“With inflation, fluctuating purchasing power of the peso and the looming effects of the tax reform law, we are optimistic that our petition will be considered,” Braza added.
After the petition is filed, the RTWPB 6 is expected to check whether it complies with the requirements. Upon official receipt, the Board will then subject the petition to a series of public consultations.
Wennie Sancho, also a labor representative to the RTWPB-6, said they are backing the petition for wage increase filed by Paciwu-TUCP.
Sancho, secretary-general of General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), reiterated that the increase is necessary for private sector workers in the region to cope with the disparity of their salaries with those in the government plus the negative impact of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law.
Western Visayas Labor Regional Director Johnson Cañete had earlier said that he will push for a fair increase.
Cañete, who chairs the RTWPB-6, said he doesn’t want to preempt the decision of the Wage Board but it should be fair to both the management and labor sector.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on January 23, 2018.
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