Labor group to push for P76-P90 wage hike

THE General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa) will push for a P76 to P90 daily minimum wage increase for workers in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of Gawa, Monday, September 18, said that after the P21 and P40 additional daily minimum wage to workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 2, respectively, the Negros Occidental-based labor group is preparing to file a petition for wage increase before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Western Visayas.

The proposed increase for workers in the non-agriculture, industrial and commercial sector employing more than 10 workers is P90 per day that could result to a daily minimum wage of P413.50.

For workers in the agriculture sector, Gawa is pushing for P78 and P76 increases for non-plantation and plantation, respectively.

If approved, non-plantation workers will receive P359.50 per day and plantation workers, P347.50 daily.

Sancho said the basis of the proposal is the report of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), showing that 28 percent of the worker’s salary is lost due to inflation.

“Considering the series of oil price increases, impending increase in transportation fare, and increase in the price of basic goods and services, another round of wage increase is necessary,” he added.

Last March 16, Wage Order No. 23 providing P15 to P25 daily minimum wage increase for workers in the region, including Negros Occidental, took effect.

The current 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 are receiving daily minimum wages of P281.50 and P271.50 for plantation and non-plantation, respectively.

Sancho said they will file the petition for minimum wage increase after the issuance of the new wage order providing an increase on the salary of domestic workers or “kasambahay” in the region.

The RTWPB-Western Visayas is expected to issue the wage order next month after the scheduled public hearings in Iloilo City and Bacolod City on October 16 and 24, respectively.

The proposed increase is P800 per month adding to the current wage of P2,500 for "kasambahays" in cities and first class municipalities and P2,000 for other towns provided under the wage order issued in February 2015.

“We have to dispose first the agenda on hand before the new petition will come in,” Sancho said, adding that they don’t see any impediment in the issuance of the wage order increasing the salary of “kasambahays.”

The labor group said they respect the statement of the management sector that there is no supervening condition yet that would merit another minimum wage increase.

“What we are looking here is the possibility of a transport fare increase. Thus, if there is increase in fare, the wage should also increase,” Sancho said.

Frank Carbon, regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Western Visayas and Negros Island, earlier said there is no need for another wage increase yet, but they can discuss with the labor sector the present employer profile in Region 6 that influences wage structure and increase.

The employers’ classification must also be revised to reflect their “real” capacity to pay, Carbon added.

Sancho said they are willing to sit down with the management sector before the filing of the petition.

“It would be better if there is a harmonious discussion between the labor and management,” Sancho said, adding that they have no opposition to the proposed “reclassification” provided there is no diminution of workers’ benefits.
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