Saturday August 18, 2018

Labor group exec says wage hike ‘satisfactory’

THE lone petitioner of the wage increase approved by the Regional Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas said they are happy of the amount granted for private sector workers in the region.

On Monday, members of the RTWPB-Western Visayas have signed Wage Order No. 24 setting new daily minimum wage rates of P295 to P365.

The amount has resulted from combined basic wage increase and cost of living allowance (Cola) ranging from P13.50 to P41.50 depending on the workers’ classification.

Joan Cristales, national executive vice president of the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (Paciwu-TUCP), told SunStar Bacolod Tuesday, June 12, that although the approved increase is lower than the petitioned amount they are still happy with the Board’s decision.

On January 22, Paciwu-TUCP filed a petition seeking for a P130 to P150 increase depending on the worker's classification.

The labor group wants a daily increase of P150 for non-agriculture, industrial, and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers.

For those with less than 10 employees, the proposed increase was pegged at P130.

Under the petition, agricultural plantations with an area of more than 24 hectares should provide a P140 daily increase. Those with an area of less than 24 hectares, with P130 additional pay.

Cristales said they are actually expecting at least P50 increase to lessen the impact of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law to minimum wage earners in the region.

“It’s a little bit off than the minimum wage that we are expecting but we are happy and satisfied so far,” he said, adding that “we have been consistent in our push for a higher increase but we understand also the need for the Board to balance the amount especially its affordability.”

Replacing Wage Order No. 23, the new wage order provides P365 per day for workers in the non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 employees.

From the previous P323.50, the RTWPB-Western Visayas came up with an increase of P26.50 on basic wage plus a Cola of P15 or a total of P41.50.

Those employing 10 workers and below, the new wage rate is P295 from only P271.50. It is derived from an increase of P18.50 plus a Cola worth P5, or a total of P23.50.

For agriculture sector, plantation workers will receive P8.50 increase and Cola of P5 thus, the new wage rate is P295. This is P13.50 higher than the previous P281.50.

Those in non-plantations, the new wage rate is also P295 from the previous P271.50 due to an increase of P18.50 and P5 worth of Cola, or a total of P23.50.

Under the approved Wage Order, the rates are now above the poverty threshold of P289 yet lower than the average wage of P400.

RTWPB-Western Visayas expects the effectivity of the order in August. If based on the projected timetable from its submission to the National Wages and Productivity Commission to publication, the soonest is on the 15th.

Aside from the "adverse effects" of the tax reform law, the petitioner has expressed optimism that the additional pay would also lighten the burden brought by existing and impending increases in prices of fuel and basic goods and services.

Cristales assured that on their group's end, the granted increase will translate to improvement on the productivity of the workers.

"If we are paying our employees well, they will be motivated to perform well," Cristales said.

He added that they have yet to convene with other labor groups and secure a copy of the new Wage Order for them to study on provisions that can be subjected to appeal.