Wage board issues incentive scheme for banana industry

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Friday, April 4, 2014


THE Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Davao Region issued a wage advisory in a bid to increase the productivity and efficiency of the workers in the banana industry.

The issuance of Advisory No. RB XI-01, also known as the "Implementation of Productivity-Based Incentive Schemes for the Banana Industry in Davao Region," was announced Friday at the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)-Davao.

"The scheme is a two-tiered wage system wherein the first tier maintains the mandatory minimum wage setting and is complimented by the voluntary productivity-based incentive scheme," said Dole-Davao Director Joffrey Suyao, who also chairs the RTWPB-Davao.

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The first tier is aimed to protect vulnerable workers from undue low wages while the second tier is aimed to encourage workers and enterprises to adopt productivity improvement and gain-sharing programs.

Based on the latest advisory, the enterprise may start with a one percent increase in productivity-based incentives considering that there has been 0.8 percent average increase in demand for Cavendish bananas over the past five years.

According to the advisory, the board recommends workers and management to discuss the recommendation, examine their respective conditions and agree to jointly develop and implement a productivity incentive program.

It also encourages companies to tap existing labor management structure or committees to design and implement a productivity incentives program, upgrade or adopt new technologies and innovation in their work process, and share gains from productivity improvement with the workers.

The RTWPB-Davao will serve as technical support to the companies who will adopt the scheme and monitor their compliance.

Labor representative Virginia T. Camus said that aside from workers taking home their regular pay, they also get the additional benefit from the incentive.

"What is really good about this is it is not only for the minimum wage workers but also for those who are above and below minimum wage workers," she said.

"Employees will really enjoy the new scheme because of the added benefits on the incentive and also will increase worker participation and efficiency," Camus said.

Suyao said the region is the first in the country to implement the productivity-based incentive scheme in a specific industry. Other regions have implemented the scheme but it is generalized.

"The banana industry was chosen as the pilot industry for the scheme because of its importance and role in the region's economy," said Ma. Lourdes D. Lim, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority in Davao Region and one of the two vice-chairmen of RTWPB.

According to the advisory, the positive outlook of the banana industry, positive growth in the industry’s output, employment, and wages over the past five years was also among the consideration on why the industry was chosen.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 05, 2014.

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