Management seeks reclassification of workers amid wage hike proposal

MANAGEMENT representatives of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas have submitted a position paper calling for the reclassification of workers amid the proposed wage increase in the region.

This was confirmed by labor representative Wennie Sancho, who attended the Wage Board’s regular meeting in Iloilo City Thursday, August 15.

Sancho, also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said the contention of the position paper is to reclassify the workers based on their number in a workplace -- whether 10 and below or 11 and above, among others.

“Given this classification, the more the number of the employees the lower the increase they will be receiving,” he said, adding that the classification scheme is complicated.

The labor leader stressed that “whether the number of workers is lower or higher, they all have the same basic needs, they all consume goods.”

On July 12 last year, minimum wage earners in Western Visayas started receiving an additional pay of P13.50 to P41.50 per day, a month after Wage Order No. 24 was signed by the members of the Board on June 11.

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-Western Visayas 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.

Under the wage hike petition filed by the New and Independent Workers Organization (Niwo) on July 1, the proposed increases are P50 for workers in the plantation and non-plantation and P60 for commercial and industrial sector workers in the region.

It also has a special provision seeking a daily minimum wage increase of P80 for workers at Boracay Island in Aklan.

Sancho said they welcome the position of the management which will be explained during the scheduled public hearings starting August 23.

“We don’t see it as a sort of opposition,” he said.

Moreover, Wage Board has reviewed the economic figures of the region during the meeting.

Sancho said a representative from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) validated that there was, indeed, a slight upward movement in the region’s inflation rate and consumers price index (CPI).

The PSA representative also validated the labor’s computation that the current purchasing power of the workers is P0.82 basing on the CPI of P121.40, Sancho said.

“The higher inflation and erosion of the workers’ purchasing power merits the increase of minimum wage in the region,” he added.


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