By Elijah Felice Rosales, Businessmirror, Jul 31, 2017
In Photo: Workers resume the construction of a mixed commercial and residential edifice in Pasay City.
The government will release this month its decision on wage-hike petitions filed by labor groups for Metro Manila, which, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said, should be favorable to the demands of workers.
Kim S. Lagcao, board secretary of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR), told the BusinessMirror they are now close to handing down a verdict on three across-the-board wage hikes filed in June by three labor groups.
“We finished consulting the workers and employers, and the final procedure now is to deliberate the wage-hike petitions,” Lagcao said.
The RTWPB-NCR is assessing the demands of the Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates-Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization (AMWEA-PTGWO); the Associated Labor Unions (ALU); and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). The TUCP is pushing for an across-the-board wage hike of P259, higher than the P184 demanded by the ALU and the P175 sought by the AMWEA-PTGWO.
However, Lagcao added the wage-hike petitions are facing rough sailing in the RTWPB-NCR due to a motion for dismissal from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop).
“The inputs gathered in the consultations and public hearing will be considered by the wage board in its deliberation. It is, however, premature to declare an amount on how much the wage hike would be, as we have yet to convene for the deliberation,” the labor official said.
According to Lagcao, the deliberation will be conducted by a seven-member committee composed of two labor representatives, two employer representatives and three government officials. Angelita D. Señorin of the TUCP and lawyer Herman N. Pascua Jr. of the ALU will represent the workers, while lawyers Alberto R. Quimpo and Vicente Leogardo Jr. of the Ecop will represent the employers.
The government will be represented by Reynaldo R. Cancio of the National Economic and Development Authority, Anacleto C. Blanco Jr. of the Department of Trade and Industry and Henry John S. Jalbuena of DOLE.
Lagcao said the RTWPB-NCR is aware of the urgency of the wage-hike petitions and vowed it will fast-track efforts to come to a decision the soonest time possible.
Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod, for his part, said the RTWPB-NCR should know the gravity of its forthcoming verdict. “In my opinion, the wage board must approve a wage hike favorable to the demands of the labor groups,” Maglunsod told the BusinessMirror.
Maglunsod added the government keeps on claiming Philippine economy is expanding, but workers have yet to receive their fair share from the purported growth. This is why the labor official said he will appeal before the RTWPB-NCR should labor groups find its decision “unjust to their needs”.
“Our workers contribute to the expansion of Philippine economy, so let us not treat them like street scavengers begging for alms,” Maglunsod said.