'Im­me­di­ate re­lief'

Labor group files pe­ti­tion for P50-P60 wage hike

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY ERWIN P. NICAVERA

A LABOR group in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal has al­ready filed a pe­ti­tion be­fore the Re­gional Tri­par­tite Wages and Pro­duc­tiv­ity Board (RTWPB) in West­ern Visayas seek­ing a daily min­i­mum wage in­crease of P50 to P60 for pri­vate sec­tor work­ers in the re­gion.

Wen­nie San­cho, labor rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the RTWPB Re­gion 6, told Sun­star Bacolod that his coun­ter­part Her­nani Braza sub­mit­ted the pe­ti­tion of the New and In­de­pen­dent Work­ers Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Niwo) dur­ing the Wage

Board Meet­ing in Iloilo City yes­ter­day.

Niwo is a rank and file labor union of Coca-cola Beverages Philip­pines Inc. Bacolod headed by its pres­i­dent Em­manuel Ban­dola.

San­cho, also the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Gen­eral Al­liance of Work­ers As­so­ci­a­tions (Gawa), said the group is seek­ing for a P50 in­crease for work­ers in the plan­ta­tion and non-plan­ta­tion and P60 for com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial sec­tor work­ers.

“The lower pur­chas­ing power of the work­ers sim­ply means that the prices of ba­sic goods and ser­vices have in­creased,” he said, adding that “the lower the pur­chas­ing power, the higher should be the wage in­crease in or­der to cope with the lost value of the peso.”

The just-filed pe­ti­tion also has a special pro­vi­sion seek­ing a daily min­i­mum wage in­crease of P80 for work­ers at Bo­ra­cay Is­land in Ak­lan.

San­cho ex­plained that this is be­cause the stan­dard cost of liv­ing in the re­gion’s top tourist des­ti­na­tion is also higher.

“The pe­ti­tioned amount of in­crease is just an im­me­di­ate re­lief for the work­ers, we need an in­crease as soon as pos­si­ble,” San­cho said.

He pointed out that, if based on the labor sec­tor’s com­pu­ta­tion, the needed wage in­crease to re­cover the to­tal pur­chas­ing power re­duc­tion is ac­tu­ally more than P100 per day.

The fil­ing of the pe­ti­tion came 15 days be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion of the ex­ist­ing Wage Or­der No. 24 on July 16 this year.

Un­der which, min­i­mum wage earn­ers in West­ern Visayas are re­ceiv­ing an ad­di­tional pay of P13.50 to P41.50 per day

Min­i­mum wage rates in the re­gion which in­cluded the cost of liv­ing al­lowance (Cola) are P295 and P365 per day.

Un­like the pre­vi­ous or­der, it pro­vided only two wage rates de­pend­ing on var­i­ous clas­si­fi­ca­tions or cat­e­gories.

Work­ers in the non-agri­cul­ture, in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments em­ploy­ing more than 10 em­ploy­ees are re­ceiv­ing a min­i­mum wage of P365 per day.

From the pre­vi­ous P323.50, the RTWPB-6 came up with an in­crease of P26.50 on ba­sic wage plus a Cola of P15. All in all, the in­crease in this clas­si­fi­ca­tion was P41.50.

Those em­ploy­ing 10 work­ers and be­low, the ex­ist­ing wage rate is P295 from only P271.50. It was de­rived from an in­crease of P18.50 plus a Cola of P5, or a to­tal of P23.50.

For agri­cul­ture sec­tor, plan­ta­tion work­ers re­ceived P8.50 in­crease and Cola of P5, thus, the ex­ist­ing wage rate is P295. This is P13.50 higher than the pre­vi­ous rate of P281.50.

Those in non-plan­ta­tions, the ex­ist­ing wage rate is also P295 from the pre­vi­ous P271.50 due to a ba­sic wage in­crease of P18.50 and P5 worth of Cola, or a to­tal of P23.50.

Also, the RTWPB in West­ern Visayas in­cluded some new “fea­tures” like pro­vi­sion of the mora­to­rium aside from set­ting higher rates and in­clu­sion of Cola.

Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the tem­po­rary clo­sure of Bo­ra­cay Is­land in Ak­lan, re­sult­ing in non-op­er­a­tion of es­tab­lish­ments there for six months, there was no wage in­crease and pro­vi­sion of Cola in all three barangays of Malay town.

The new Wage Or­der took ef­fect three months af­ter the re­open­ing of the is­land.

Since busi­ness op­er­a­tions in the en­tire Ak­lan were also af­fected by the Bo­ra­cay woes, the wage in­crease took ef­fect in other ar­eas in the prov­ince last Novem­ber.

For sugar in­dus­try en­ter­prises un­der the agri­cul­tural, in­dus­trial, and com­mer­cial sec­tor, the grant of Cola took ef­fect six months af­ter the is­suance of the Wage Or­der.

San­cho said that aside from Gawa and Braza’s group Philip­pine Agri­cul­tural Com­mer­cial and In­dus­trial Work­ers Union-trade Union Congress of the Philip­pines, other labor groups in the prov­ince are also back­ing the wage hike pe­ti­tion.

The labor rep­re­sen­ta­tive said upon the re­ceipt of the pe­ti­tion, the Wage Board Secretaria­t has yet to check whether it is suf­fi­cient in form and sub­stance.

The wage hike pe­ti­tion will then be sched­uled for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the next Board meet­ing on July 18.

San­cho said the fil­ing is timely as RTWPB-6 can al­ready en­ter­tain the pe­ti­tion, by this time, be­cause the ex­ist­ing Wage Or­der has al­ready ex­pired.

“Hope­fully, we can al­ready sched­ule the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and hear­ing in the next few months,” he added.*

RICHARD MALIHAN PHOTO

THIS farm­worker and those in the plan­ta­tion sec­tor may re­ceive an ad­di­tional daily min­i­mum wage of P50 based on the pe­ti­tioned filed by Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal-based labor union New and In­de­pen­dent Work­ers Or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore the Rtwpb-west­ern Visayas in Iloilo City yes­ter­day.

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