Labor sector sets high expectations from poll winners

THE local labor sector has high expectations from the newly-elected officials in Negros Occidental, a labor leader said.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said the new set of officials should champion the cause of the poor and needy.

This is by protecting the workers in the sugar industry from oppression and exploitation, Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas, said.

“At the top of their agenda would be to convince our economic managers to cease and desist from implementing the sugar import liberalization plan,” he said.

The labor leader added that provincial officials should support the demand of the labor for a new round of wage increase in the daily minimum wage particularly in the sugar industry.

Local labor groups earlier said they are filing a wage hike petition for private sector workers in the region in June, a month prior to the expiration of Wage Order No. 24 in July.

They are eyeing a daily minimum wage increase of up to P100, bigger than the initial plan of P73 per day.

On July 12 last year, minimum wage earners in the region started receiving an additional pay of P13.50 to P41.50 per day.

Under the existing order, new minimum wage rates in the region which include the cost of living allowance (Cola) are P295 and P365 per day.

Unlike the previous order, it provided only two wage rates depending on various classifications or categories.

Workers in the non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 employees are receiving a minimum wage of P365 per day.

From the previous P323.50, the RTWPB-6 came up with an increase of P26.50 on basic wage plus a Cola of P15. All in all, the increase in this classification was P41.50.

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

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

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

In Bacolod City, meanwhile, the labor group said they expect the city government -- its officials -- to implement the provisions of Republic Act 10361 or Batas Kasambahay.

Sancho said the creation of Kasambahay Desk in the city has been neglected since the passage of the Kasambahay Law in June 2013.

Sancho said there were no Kasambahay Desks in the barangay, the committee on labor failed to do its mandate.

“The local government should revoke the business permits of companies or establishments who are perennial violators of minimum wage and other labor standards,” he stressed.


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