'Too much'

MBCCI exec says small biz can’t af­ford P50-P60 wage hike

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

A BUSI­NESS leader in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal has as­sailed the pe­ti­tion filed by a la­bor group seek­ing for a daily min­i­mum wage in­crease of P50 to P60 for pri­vate sec­tor work­ers in West­ern Visayas.

Frank Car­bon, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Metro Ba­colod Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MBCCI), yes­ter­day said the pro­posed hike in the min­i­mum wage can only be af­forded by multi­na­tional and large cor­po­ra­tions.

Car­bon said the amount is “too much” for the mi­cro and small busi­nesses as well as to the star­tups that com­prise about 90 per­cent of the in­dus­try.

“The small and medium en­ter­prises (SMES) could not even af­ford an in­crease in cost of liv­ing al­lowance (Cola) at this point,” he said, adding that the in­crease in wealth is only among the 10 per­cent of the busi­nesses which are multi­na­tional and large cor­po­ra­tions.

On Mon­day, the New and In­de­pen­dent Work­ers Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Niwo) filed the pe­ti­tion be­fore the Re­gional Tri­par­tite Wages and Pro­duc­tiv­ity Board (RTWPB) in West­ern Visayas dur­ing its meet­ing in Iloilo City.

Niwo, a rank and file la­bor union of Coca-cola Bev­er­ages Philip­pines Inc. - Ba­colod headed by its pres­i­dent Em­manuel Ban­dola, sub­mit­ted the pe­ti­tion through la­bor rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the RTWPB – West­ern Visayas Her­nane Braza.

Braza’s coun­ter­part Wen­nie Sancho, also the sec­re­tary gen­eral of Gen­eral Al­liance of Work­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (Gawa), con­firmed to Suns­tar Ba­colod that the pe­ti­tion seeks for P50 in­crease for work­ers in the plan­ta­tion and non-plan­ta­tion and P60 for com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial sec­tor work­ers.

Sancho said the pe­ti­tion also has a spe­cial pro­vi­sion seek­ing a daily min­i­mum wage in­crease of P80 for work­ers at Bo­ra­cay Is­land in Ak­lan, mainly due to higher stan­dard cost of liv­ing there.

“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 busi­ness group, how­ever, pointed out that the in­crease in wealth of large com­pa­nies has no trick­le­down ef­fect yet.

Car­bon said most of these multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions are in ur­ban ar­eas thus, they are ad­vo­cat­ing for the de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral and agri­cul­tural ar­eas in­clud­ing fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Car­bon said de­vel­op­ments of the lo­cal govern­ment units (LGUS) and na­tional govern­ment agen­cies (NGAS) should be bi­ased to­ward the ru­ral ar­eas.

“We are calling a meet­ing to dis­cuss the wage hike pe­ti­tion,” he said, stress­ing that SMES em­ploy at least 60 per­cent of the to­tal la­bor force so they must also be given due con­sid­er­a­tion.

Un­der the ex­ist­ing Wage Or­der No. 24, which will ex­pire on July 16 this year, 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.*

EPN

MBCCI chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Frank Car­bon

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