THE proposed P125 across-the-board wage increase is still unlikely to happen, the top official of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said it must be the Congress, not the department, who will approve the general wage increase.
He said it is unlikely “for now” for a nationwide floor pay for the private sector as the need to consider its economics still stands.
“Approving the proposed across-the-board wage increase might cause reduction in employment, which is something to mainly consider,” Bello told SunStar Bacolod.
He had earlier ordered the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to review various legislative proposals on the P125 across-the-board wage increase.
Some of these proposals filed before the Congress were initiated by party-lists like Kilusang Mayo Uno and Anakpawis.
Economic managers had earlier warned of adverse effects on the economic growth, employment, and inflation if the proposed P125 across-the-board wage increase would pass Congress.
They said uniform wage increases across regions may erode the attractiveness of other regions for labor-intensive industries and enterprises, consequently worsening inequality across the regions.
Pending its “unlikely” approval, the RTWPB in Western Visayas has already issued Wage Order 23, providing P15 to P25 daily minimum wage increase for workers in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental.
The new daily minimum wage rate in non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers is P323.50.
Those employing less than 10 workers are required to pay P271.50.
Workers in the agriculture sector, meanwhile, receive daily minimum wages of P281.50 and P271.50 for plantation and non-plantation, respectively.
Wennie Sancho, labor representative to RTWPB-Western Visayas, said they also think the proposed across-the-board wage hike will not prosper.
Sancho pointed out that only if Republic Act 6727, the law creating regional wage board, is repealed will the nationwide P125 increase be possible.
The labor representative, also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Association, however, said they remain amenable to the P125 across-the-board wage hike.
The latest “meager” increase is not enough for workers to fully cover the basic needs of their families, Sancho added.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on June 19, 2017.
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