THE wage board should understand the current economic situation before making a decision on the wage hike petitions filed by a party-list group and a labor coalition, an official from a business chamber said.

“There are actually two concerns of the companies: one is growth for the business, and the other is the survival in the industry. With these two concerns, majority of the companies are more concerned about their survival,” Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) committee chairman on labor Edgar Godinez told Sun.Star Cebu

yesterday.

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The wage hike petition of the workers in Central Visayas, Godinez said, should be well evaluated by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

“The wage board should make a decision that is beneficial to both the business and labor sectors,” he said.

Earlier, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it would file a wage hike petition before the wage board for an increase of P100 in the daily wages of Central Visayas workers.

Godinez said the petition, which was to be filed yesterday by the TUCP, was similar to the petition filed by the Cebu Labor Coalition (Celac) before the regional wage board last September.

Celac asked for a P128.60 across-the-board wage increase for Central Visayas.

“The request for wage increase will always be there. What the wage board should do is to understand the current economic situation first before making a decision,” Godinez said.

The export industry, he said, was one of the sectors greatly affected by the global economic crisis.

CCCI stressed that the proposed wage increase filed by Celac last September was untimely, with companies still suffering from the global economic crunch.

In its position paper, CCCI said that while the business community was not opposing the proposed wage increase, the proposal would just be “adding insult to injury” if approved.

The chamber asked the RTWPB to study the advantages and disadvantages the wage hike will bring to both parties: the companies and the workers.

The Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF) earlier opposed the petition filed by Celac, saying this would only cause more job losses and be “tantamount to a death certificate for the export furniture industry.”

CFIF said the major markets of Philippine export furniture remained “very weak” due to the global financial crisis and the stiff competition from China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The furniture industry said any increase in wages should be postponed until the market recovery is certain.