THE Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas said an increase in the minimum wage for workers in this region will likely take effect in May.
RTWPB-Western Visayas chairman Johnson Cañete, who led the second consultation with the labor sector at the Department of Labor and Employment Provincial Office in Bacolod City Wednesday, February 28, said the board will still conduct four public hearings in April before it can deliberate the proposed wage increase.
He said they cannot yet schedule these hearings this month since a notice still needs to be published in newspaper of general circulation.
“This is part of the process which we need to abide,” Cañete said. “Thus, we can only start deliberating whether there would be an increase and how much is the adjustment most probably in May.”
The existing Wage Order No. 23 will expire this coming March 16. This means that the same minimum wage rate shall be applied from the remaining days of the month towards April or until a new order will be issued.
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.
Last January 22, the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (Paciwu-TUCP) filed the wage hike petition before the RTWPB-Western Visyas.
It sought to increase the salary of minimum wage earners in the region, depending on the classification of their work and the sector they belong.
The labor group asked for a daily increase of P150 for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers. While, 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.
On February 20, the Board conducted the first consultation with the management sector in Iloilo City.
In Wednesday’s consultation, Cañete said they were able to get the insights of the labor groups.
“It is important for us to be aware of their actual and on-hand experience whether the previously issued order really benefited them,” he said, adding that “it is not yet the time to discuss how much should be the increase.”
Labor representative to the RTWPB-Western Visayas Wennie Sancho, who also attended the consultation, said they were able to spell out during the meeting various economic indicators that merit a wage increase.
These indicators include the tax reform law, abnormal increases on the prices of petroleum products, and transportation fare, among others.
Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association, said they submitted a manifesto signed by at least 15 union presidents in the region expressing unequivocal support to the wage hike petition filed by Paciwu-TUCP.
Amid the unabated increases on the prices of basic goods and services, the issuance of wage increase is compelling in its character that it cannot be lightly brushed aside, the manifesto stated.
“We have no option but we have to confront the worsening economic condition as it continue to erode the workers purchasing power,” Sancho said, adding that “the signing of manifesto is an answer to our call for solidarity.”