5 biz groups oppose wage hike

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012


FIVE business groups in Cebu opposed the petitions for wage adjustments filed by the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and its allied unions.

The petitions were heard by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) at Sarrosa Hotel yesterday.

Those who opposed the petitions for wage increase are the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (Mepzcem),Philexport Cebu and the Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts Association of Cebu (HRAC).

The public hearing was conducted by RTWPB 7 with the presence of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 Director Gloria Tango as RTWPB 7 chairperson, lawyer Ernesto Carreon and Jose Tomongha of the labor sector, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Asteria Caberte as RTWPB 7 vice chair, and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Buenaventuta Go-Soco of the government sector.

ALU asked for P90 across-the-board increase while APL asked for P121.84 wage adjustment.

ALU spokesperson Art Barrit said that aside from the increases of the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel which led to fare increase, the bigger problem is the high cost of power rates that wiped out the effect of the previous wages increases granted by RTWPB 7.

Boboy Belarmino of APL said they don’t call it wage increase but wage adjustment because they just want to restore the purchasing power of the peso to the 1989 level.

Belarmino said that because of the high prices of commodities and cost of living, a family of six needs P867 a day to have a decent life.

At present, the minimum wage is P305 a day.

The Consumers’ Rights for Economic Welfare (Crew) Inc. also submitted a letter to RTWPB, which stated that the workers need a P100 wage increase to cover the increases in electricity rate, tuition, meat and dairy products, and fish.

However, the five business groups made it clear during the public hearing that they want a “freeze” in wage increase at this time of business slowdown and given the high cost of business operations.

Businessman Teodoro Locson submitted to RTWPB the CCCI Resolution 120-2012 signed by President Prudencio Gesta, stating that the Philippines has one of the highest minimum wages relative to its gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia, according to the World Bank.

The resolution said the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which compose more than 90 percent of businesses and account for more than 60 percent of employment in the country, are less able to shoulder additional costs than large businesses.

MCCI President Philip Tan said that the P867 a day needed by a family of six, which was presented by the petitioner, should not have to be earned by one family member only.

Tan said that if all the members of the family of six have jobs, their income would be enough for all of them.

Dr. Efren Valiente of HRAC said that although any wage adjustment can go to consumption spending, it can still affect the MSMEs.

Those who opposed the petitions for wage increase are the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (Mepzcem),Philexport Cebu and the Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts Association of Cebu (HRAC).

The public hearing was conducted by RTWPB 7 with the presence of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 Director Gloria Tango as RTWPB 7 chairperson, lawyer Ernesto Carreon and Jose Tomongha of the labor sector, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Asteria Caberte as RTWPB 7 vice chair, and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Buenaventuta Go-Soco of the government sector.

ALU asked for P90 across-the-board increase while APL asked for P121.84 wage adjustment.

ALU spokesperson Art Barrit said that aside from the increases of the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel which led to fare increase, the bigger problem is the high cost of power rates that wiped out the effect of the previous wages increases granted by RTWPB 7.

Boboy Belarmino of APL said they don’t call it wage increase but wage adjustment because they just want to restore the purchasing power of the peso to the 1989 level.

Belarmino said that because of the high prices of commodities and cost of living, a family of six needs P867 a day to have a decent life.

At present, the minimum wage is P305 a day.

The Consumers’ Rights for Economic Welfare (Crew) Inc. also submitted a letter to RTWPB, which stated that the workers need a P100 wage increase to cover the increases in electricity rate, tuition, meat and dairy products, and fish.

However, the five business groups made it clear during the public hearing that they want a “freeze” in wage increase at this time of business slowdown and given the high cost of business operations.

Businessman Teodoro Locson submitted to RTWPB the CCCI Resolution 120-2012 signed by President Prudencio Gesta, stating that the Philippines has one of the highest minimum wages relative to its gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia, according to the World Bank.

The resolution said the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which compose more than 90 percent of businesses and account for more than 60 percent of employment in the country, are less able to shoulder additional costs than large businesses.

MCCI President Philip Tan said that the P867 a day needed by a family of six, which was presented by the petitioner, should not have to be earned by one family member only.

Tan said that if all the members of the family of six have jobs, their income would be enough for all of them.

Dr. Efren Valiente of HRAC said that although any wage adjustment can go to consumption spending, it can still affect the MSMEs.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2012.

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