BACOLOD

Labor group braces for ‘lower’ wage increase

PRIVATE sector workers in Western Visayas can expect a “lower” wage increase this year amid the oppositions manifested by the management, a labor leader said.

Wennie Sancho, labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) - Western Visayas, said though they cannot speculate what will be the decision of the Board, as a matter of personal opinion, it’s hard to get the previous P41.50 per day increase.

Sancho, also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (GAWA), said to be more practical and given the oppositions from the employers, the increase might be a bit lower.

“We are bracing for an increase lower than P41.50 per day but not as lower as P10 per day,” he said, adding that “we are aware of the vehement oppositions of the management but hopefully we could arrive at win-win situation.

RTWPB - Western Visayas has set the final deliberation of the proposed wage increase in Iloilo City on October 21 and 22.

The New and Independent Workers Organization (Niwo), a rank and file labor union of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc.-Bacolod, has filed a wage hike petition on July 1 this year.

The petition proposed for the increase of 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 in Boracay Island, Aklan.

If approved, it will replace the existing rate provided under Wage Order 24. Under the latter, minimum wage earners in Western Visayas are receiving an additional pay of P13.50 to P41.50 per day.

The existing minimum wage rates in the region included the cost of living allowance (Cola) 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 the 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.

Sancho said the Wage Board will already have a decision on the proposed increase after the deliberation. However, it will take effect 15 days after publication.

“So by October 22, we will know how much the increase is,” he added.

Also, the labor sector expressed optimism that the wage issue, which has become a national concern, will be given solution.

Sancho asserted that if teachers and nurses are asking for wage increase, the minimum wage earners also have the reasons to demand for a pay hike.

“Wage is a phenomenal issue which has to be resolved within this period,” he added.


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