THE petition seeking to increase by P130 to P150 the daily minimum wage of workers in Western Visayas has hurdled the first consultation.

Labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas Wennie Sancho, who attended the consultation with the management sector in Iloilo City on Tuesday, February 20, said there was no vehement opposition to the petition.

“The management sector also sees the need to increase the salaries of minimum wage earners in the region,” Sancho said. “They also recognized the impact of the tax reform law to both management and labor sector.”

However, Sancho said the amount of increase “was not discussed in detail. There was even no mention of the proposed amount."

Last January 22, the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (Paciwu-TUCP) filed the wage increase petition before the RTWPB-Western Visayas.

The labor group asked for a daily increase of P150 for non-agriculture, industrial, and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers.

For those with less than 10 employees, the proposed increase was pegged at P130.

Under the petition, agricultural plantations with an area of more than 24 hectares should provide a P140 daily increase. Those with area of less than 24 hectares, with P130 additional pay.

The existing Wage Order 23 will expire on March 16 this year.

Under which, the daily minimum wage rate in non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers is P323.50.

For those employing less than 10 workers, the existing rate is P271.50.

Workers in the agriculture sector are receiving daily minimum wages of P281.50 and P271.50 for plantation and non-plantation, respectively.

The first consultation was attended by representatives of various groups including the Confederation of Sugar Producers Inc. and Iloilo Business Club Inc., among others.

After which, another consultation with the labor sector will be conducted in Bacolod City on February 28.

This will be followed by two public hearings to determine the amount and coverage of the increase before the Board can hold the final deliberation.

“It was a cordial consultation,” Sancho said. “We hope to have a win-win solution where workers receive wage hike without hampering the businesses.”