Biz groups against P100 salary hike

Biz groups against P100 salary hike
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BUSINESS chambers in the Visayas have teamed up to express their strong opposition to the legislated and across-the-board wage hike.

In a joint position paper signed by the heads of 22 local chambers across three regions — namely, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Western Visayas, PCCI Central Visayas, and PCCI Eastern Visayas, collectively known as One Visayas, the business groups expressed their unified stance against the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 2534, also known as the P100 Daily Minimum Wage Increase Act of 2023.

“We believe that the proposed legislated increase infringes the mandated role of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board to determine minimum wage increases and is excessive, oppressive and confiscatory and it will “do more harm than good” to informal workers -- from farmers to vendors to gig workers -- and micro and small-sized enterprises which make up 95 percent of all enterprises in the country,” the group said.

The position paper was signed on Feb. 16, 2024, and was sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

According to Melanie Ng, area vice president for PCCI Visayas, they’ve submitted to each representative in the Visayas a copy of their position paper and they’ve started talking to them one by one.

“This appeal is made with utmost intention towards a balanced approach that considers the needs of both workers and businesses to maintain a healthy and sustainable economy not just in Visayas but of the country,” the business groups said.

SB 2534 was approved on third and final reading by the Senate on Feb. 19, with 20 affirmative votes and no negative votes or abstentions.

Co-author and co-sponsor Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, in a speech explaining his affirmative vote, underscored the measure’s primary objective, which is to provide Filipino workers with a living wage that not only meets their basic needs but also safeguards them from the grips of poverty.

The House of Representatives has yet to pass a counterpart bill on the legislated wage hike. A bill becomes a law in the Philippines when it is approved by both houses of Congress and the President.

The Visayas business groups said they are “adopting the recommendations stated in the joint position paper of the major business groups led by the PCCI to adopt a ‘more comprehensive approach’ in addressing economic inequality instead of focusing solely on wage increases.”

The Manila-based business groups also wrote to the Senate on Feb. 14 expressing their opposition to the P100 wage hike.

“While we recognize the importance of ensuring that workers receive fair compensation for their labor, however, we also put into consideration the challenges that businesses face in the economic environment,” the joint position paper reads.

Instead of the across-the-board wage hike, the business groups in the Visayas recommends that the government should prioritize expanding economic activities and attracting investments to complement labor and local productivity. This can be achieved through innovative investment promotion strategies and efforts to enhance the ease of doing business nationwide.

“By attracting both foreign and local direct investments, we can generate more job opportunities and stimulate economic growth that is inclusive,” they said.

They also suggest that the government must proactively address inflationary pressures, particularly regarding the prices of basic goods and services, high utility costs (especially power and water), fuel prices and the importation of goods. It is also crucial to boost the agricultural value chain and develop new agri-aqua technologies to improve productivity and reduce dependency on imports.

Additionally, the government can enact safety nets to protect labor from exploitation and ensure fair wages.

The business groups added that an industry-driven wage hike is more realistic.

“The government should consider creating a regional industry wage board that will consider the economic situation of each company, large, medium or small, and the wherewithal and resources in line with respective performance. Or support a Collective Bargaining Agreement type of solution per sector,” they said.

Earlier, Nagkaisa, a coalition of labor centers, federations and national unions, said the Senate’s move is a “good starting point” in reforming the mechanism governing wage determination in the country. / KOC


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