CEBU CITY -- Now that dark clouds over the economy in 2009 have cleared, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) will ask for an increase of P100 in the daily wages of Central Visayas workers.

The party-list group plans to file the petition on Monday before the wage board.

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But a leader of Cebu’s business sector asked the labor group to reconsider, saying it is too soon to call for an increase in salaries, with most companies still recovering from the 2009 crisis.

Raymund Mendoza, TUCP party-list representative, said Saturday they want to ask the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) for a P100 wage increase in Central Visayas because of the increasing prices of food, gas and other commodities.

Mendoza and other TUCP and Associated Labor Unions (ALU) officials conducted an area council meeting in the JSU-PSU Mariner’s Court in the Cebu City pier area on Saturday.

He told reporters it has been two years since they have asked the RTWPB for a wage increase.

In 2008, the RTWPB increased the minimum wage in Metro Cebu from P250 to P267 a day. A slightly lower increase took effect in the rest of Central Visayas.

Mendoza said that with the rising prices of common food items and oil, a wage increase is badly needed.

Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial candidate Susan Ople agreed with Mendoza, saying a wage increase will provide relief to laborers in the region.

But Eric Ng Mendoza, Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) president, said it is not yet the time to ask for a wage hike, considering that some businesses have not yet fully recovered from the crisis.

The MCCCI president, in an interview with radio dyLA on Saturday, said instead of increasing wages, the government should focus more on improving the job competitiveness and skills training of laborers to give them more job options.

He added that increasing the wages of unskilled laborers would reduce productivity in companies.

“If you give an additional P100 to a laborer without looking at his work performance, that is a sign of unproductivity,” he said.

A mandatory increase in wages would also force employers to employ fewer people, he added.

At least six regional wage boards nationwide have received petitions for an increase. Petitions are subjected to consultations, where both workers and employers argue their positions. (JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)