THE Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)7 will discuss on July 21 the petition for a P145 across-the-board wage increase filed by the Cebu Labor Coalition (Celac) last July 13.

But businessman Philip Tan, a member of RTWPB 7 representing management, said the deliberation of the petition will only start when a public hearing is scheduled and when management submits its position paper.

Tan said that so far, inflation in Region 7 is within tolerable limits set by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) for the year, with no significant changes in basic consumer products as monitored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Call for unity

Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon and DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte are both voting members of RTWPB 7.

Department of Labor and Employment 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga, the RTWPB chairman, said all indicators that can be used to adjust wages will be assessed and considered, including the cost of medicines, which is part of the food basket under the Commodity Price Index.

As this developed, Celac spokesman Buboie Belarmino said they are calling for unity among all workers in the labor sector to attend the public hearing that Sarcauga is going to call and sign a manifesto to support the petition for wage increase.

Labor’s lament

Celac leaders said that if President Benigno Aquino III wants to achieve an inclusive economic growth before his term ends on June 30, 2016, he should support the petition so workers can get a fair share of the profits of the business community.

They said the nation’s wealth is not distributed equally as promised by the country’s leaders because while big industrial and business firms are reporting billions of pesos in annual profit, their workers continue to suffer from poverty.

Belarmino said they will submit a supplemental position paper to the RTWPB to convince board members that the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities plus the high cost of medicines and hospitalization have eroded the workers’ buying power.

Joe Tomungha, a member of RTWPB representing the labor sector, said he will participate in the initial discussion of the wage increase petition on July 21.