Labor group backs uniform minimum wage in W. Visayas

THE General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa) backed the pronouncement of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)-Western Visayas Director Johnson Cañete to consider the possibility of not “classifying” minimum wage workers in the region, including Negros Occidental.

Through which, minimum wage earners regardless of what kind or category of industry sectors they are working will have a similar salary starting next year.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of Gawa, yesterday said the move is in line with the concept of a uniform regional minimum wage for workers in different sectors.

“This way, wage increase should be across-the-board to prevent salary distortion,” he added.

Under the existing Wage Order, which took effect last March 16, workers in Western Visayas are getting additional increase of P15 and P25 per day.

The existing 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, meanwhile, are receiving daily minimum wages of P281.50 and P271.50 for plantation and non-plantation, respectively.

Cañete Wednesday said realizing the plan to remove the classification among minimum wage workers will still depend on the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) composed of representatives not only from labor, but also from government and management sectors.

Cañete said the non-classification, which was already done in his previous assignment in Caraga Region, allows workers to receive uniform wage given that the kind and prices of commodities they consume are also the same.

The RTWPB-Western Visayas already applied the concept of non-classification of workers among “kasambahays” in the region this year.

Starting December 8, domestic workers in all cities and municipalities are entitled to receive P3,500 monthly salary.

“Kung ako lang, I would want to have the minimum wage to be uniform. But this is a tripartite thus, we still need to consult all sectors,” he added.

Sancho, the labor representative to RTWPB-Western Visayas, said that uniform wage might not be applicable in the sugar industry where majority of the workers are paid on “pakyaw” basis.

“With the prices of sugar on a downtrend, it would be difficult for the planters to comply with the increase in wages so they might file a petition for exemption,” Sancho added.

In response, Cañete said any wage order issued by the Board is subject to exemption.

“We are open to exemption as it is true that there are kinds of work that are not subject to minimum wage including ‘pakyaw’ and per project basis,” he said, adding that “what we mean for non-classification is only applicable to minimum wage earners.”


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