THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Wednesday formally asked the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in the National Capital Region (NCR) to give workers in Metro Manila a P85 pay adjustment.


In its four-page petition, the labor group said there is a need to grant a P85 pay increase in order to enable Metro Manila workers to stay abreast with rising prices of commodities and basic services.


"The P85 daily increase in NCR is essential if workers are to cope with the increasing prices of commodities and cost of living, if they are to meet the basic needs of their families, and if the country is to give meaning and substance to the policy of equitable distribution of income and wealth," said TUCP president Victorino Balais.


And aside from minimum wage earners, the TUCP said the same salary adjustment should also be given to non-minimum wage earners.


"All workers in NCR, regardless of whether they receive minimum wages or higher, are subject to the same prices in the market and the same increases in the prices of commodities. The distortion provision in Wage Orders is cumbersome does not respond to the needs of other workers, and is unjust," said Balais.


In its petition, TUCP explained that the P85 wage petition is based on the current difference between the P456 existing minimum wage in the region and the need for a P541 minimum wage.


Based on its computation, the P85 is the total of the P9.63 average increase of prices between March 2012 until February 2013; P27.36 from the projected six percent rise in Consumer Price Index in the region; and P48 for the P2 per year increase since 1989.


But according to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), such an adjustment is highly unlikely at this time of the year.


In a phone interview, Dole-NCR Director Alan Macaraya said there is an existing one-year ban in between the granting of wage orders.


"The one-year period does not end until May 17. Until then, our rules prohibit any wage increase unless there is a supervening condition that the regional wage board might consider," said Macaraya.


But according to Macaraya, even a supervening condition is unlikely to be found by the wage board as of the moment.


"It is unlikely since we have a very stable inflation rate and we have a positive growth rate in the economy so we do not see any supervening condition," the labor official said.


Still, Macaraya assured that he will present the wage petition to the RTWPB-NCR as part of their standard procedure.


Macaraya noted that come May 17, it is already up to the wage board on how it will handle the petition filed by TUCP.


Back in May 2012, the RTWPB-NCR had issued a two-tranche wage order, wherein it granted additional P20 and P10 in June and in November, respectively, for Metro Manila workers. (HDT/Sunnex)