Business leaders, management rep defend gov’t directors in wage board-A A +A
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
THOUGH labor groups have expressed disappointment with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Asteria Caberte, those on the side of management do not find anything irregular about her decisions at the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).
Employers’ representative Hidelito Pascual said he could not find any justification to have Caberte or National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Marlene Rodriguez removed from the board.
Association of Labor Unions-Trade Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), Alliance of Progressive Labor and Partido ng Manggagawa accused both directors of ignoring the plight of workers. They want the voting powers of both directors removed.
The labor groups blamed them for the board’s failure to declare a supervening event, which would have led to a wage adjustment less than a year since the last one.
But Pascual said the two based their decisions on data.
“That’s their (labor groups) perception. They look at things differently,” Pascual said.
He explained that they did not find enough basis to declare a supervening event in their last meeting. He said that if things are different in their next meeting, their decisions could also change, depending on the facts presented to them.
“I don’t think anybody should be held at fault for basing their decisions on the facts,” he said.
Caberte earlier said she found the accusation unfair because she did her best to balance the concerns of both employers and workers. She said she stood by her decision to vote against the declaration of a supervening event because of the report of DTI field personnel, who monitor prices of commodities.
Business leaders also rallied behind the two directors.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Samuel Chioson said removing Caberte and Rodriguez from the board is “not a good idea,” saying they are important members of the board because of their knowledge of Cebu’s data and overall business environment.
Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona, for his part, pointed out that labor groups can file their petition for another wage hike come September, a year after the last wage hike was approved.
He said arguments on inflation and the rise in oil prices are factors that affect the whole world and that countries like the United States have big problems like unemployment, which he said we should avoid.
“If Neda and DTI think that there is no supervening factor, then it must be true, as they are very awaree of local market conditions. It is unfair to attack the incumbents personally,” Escalona told Sun.Star Cebu.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph agreed with Escalona.
“Caberte and Rodriguez are acting objectively. Asking for their removal because they disagreed with the opinion of labor is immature,” Joseph said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2011.