PCCI exec echoes chamber, says pay hike sought ‘too big’

THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Western Visayas also bucked the proposed P50 to P60 wage increase among private sector workers in the region.

Donna Rose Ratilla, regional governor of PCCI-Western Visayas, said the petitioned amount is too big.

Like the pronouncement of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Ratilla said only the multinational companies and large corporations can afford the increase.

"In 2018, businesses suffered from high prices of fuel which resulted in domino effects," she said, adding that "this is on top of the rising inflation last year."

On June 30, the New and Independent Workers Organization (Niwo), a rank and file labor union of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. - Bacolod, filed a wage hike petition before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas.

The group sought an increase of P50 per day for workers in the plantation and non-plantation sector, and P60 per day adjustment for those in commercial and industrial sector.

The petition also sought to raise the daily minimum wage by P80 for workers on Boracay Island, Aklan.

Ratilla said though the amount is "too much" nothing is final yet as the petition should be tackled first by the wage board.

Ratilla said the regional business chamber will send its position paper to RTWPB in Western Visayas.

They will also initiate rounds of consultations with both the employees and employers.

"The labor sector has to consider especially small businesses," she said, adding that "don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."

The Bacolod chamber earlier assailed the petition claiming that the proposed amount is too much for the micro and small businesses as well as to startups that comprise about 90 percent of the industry.

"Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could not even afford an increase in cost of living allowance (Cola) at this time," its chief executive officer Frank Carbon said.

A labor leader has refuted such claim.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), said bulk of the business operation cost is not intended for employees' wages.

Rather, it goes to the very high cost of power, water, materials and other supplies, Sancho said.

"Based on the data from the Department of Labor and Employment, only 15 to 25 percent of the overall operation of the companies of any scale goes to wages," he added.

Under the existing Wage Order No. 24, minimum wage earners in Western Visayas receive P295 and P365 per day, after an increase of P13.50 to P41.50 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 approved an increase of P26.50 on basic wage plus 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.


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