Labor group eyes reconsideration after P100 wage hike bid junked

Photo by Earl Padronia
Photo by Earl Padronia

A LOCAL labor group will file a motion for reconsideration after the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB 7) disapproved its P100 “across-the-board” wage hike petition on a technicality.

Partido Manggagawa (PM)-Cebu spokesman Dennis Derige told SunStar Cebu Friday, March 31, 2023, that they are set to file their motion for reconsideration after the Holy Week.

Derige said they questioned the latest ruling of the RTWPB 7 that cited “lack of jurisdiction” for the dismissal of their petition, saying they were dealt with “technically” by the board.

He said this was the first time that the RTWPB 7 had used this argument on their petitions.

Also on Friday, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa) criticized the RTWPB 7 for dismissing the wage hike petition filed for workers in the region.

“We are highly disappointed that the RTWPB in Region 7 failed to consider the petition as a means of providing relief for workers who have been struggling to make ends meet in the face of skyrocketing inflation,” Nagkaisa chairman Sonny Matula said in a statement.

He said that instead of dismissing the wage petition altogether, it could have been used by the wage board in its ongoing review of wage rates.

Matula called on the Department of Labor and Employment to take action and ensure that regional wage boards are more liberal in performing their mandates.

Last week, the RTWPB 7 said in a resolution that the P100 across-the-board wage increase was not a matter under its jurisdiction, citing the Supreme Court decision in February 2007 in the case of Metro Bank and Trust Company against the RTWPB in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) and the National Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, saying that the RTWPB cannot grant an across-the-board wage increase.

Derige explained that “across the board” refers to the salary of workers who are paid above the minimum wage.

Currently, Central Visayas has the highest minimum wage of P435 under the Class A and non-agriculture classification.

Derige said workers paid P436 and up are in the “across the board” category.

“It’s so unfair that only those earning P435 can benefit from their wage increase. Even if the difference in their pay is only P1 from the minimum wage, they are no longer included,” Derige said in Cebuano.

“The workers are really struggling now. Why are they thinking of technicalities when it is very clear that the purchasing power of the workers, whether or not minimum wage earners, has decreased?” he added.

He said that since October 2022, adjusting for the increasing inflation every month, the daily minimum wage has lost as much as P70 in purchasing power.

Inflation in Central Visayas shot up to 7.4 percent in February 2023, from 5.1 percent in February 2022, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year caused global food and energy prices to soar amid supply chain disruptions due in part to Western sanctions imposed in a bid to curb Russia’s aggression.

Last March 3, PM-Cebu, together with the Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggawa, Globalwear Employees Union-Piglas, Association of Globalwear Supervisory Employees Union-Piglas, Mepz Workers Alliance, Workers Organization of Lami Food, Prince Warehouse Club Mandaue Employees Union LAW, Ilaw-Buklod ng Manggagawa-United Miners of Carmen Copper, Kepco Cebu Employees Union-Workers Solidarity Network, Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa sa General Milling Corp. and Bohol Alliance of Labor Organizations, filed a petition for a P100 across-the-board wage increase for the non-agriculture and agriculture sector and service/retail establishments employing 15 workers or less, and manufacturing industries regularly employing less than 10 workers.

It was in May 2022 when the Central Visayas wage board last issued a wage order, which provided a P31 per day basic wage increase for minimum wage earners. (HDT, CTL)


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