By Elijah Felice Rosales, Businessmirror, Aug 29, 2017
Metro Manila workers will have to wait longer before they could get their much-needed wage hike, as the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) deferred deliberations on the wage petitions filed by different labor groups in June.
The region’s wage board earlier promised to release its decision this month, but Kim S. Lagcao, secretary of the RTWPB-NCR, said the members of the board need more time to assess crucial socioeconomic indicators.
“We are still waiting for instructions from the board [on when to deliberate the wage-hike petitions]. Hopefully, we can conduct it the soonest,” Lagcao told the BusinessMirror.
Still, Lagcao added: “It is not safe to say [there was no progress because] the proposals, together with the socioeconomic indicators, will be taken into consideration during the deliberations.”
Lagcao noted that the board is monitoring the movement of determinants of wage increase, such as the prices of basic commodities and inflation, to ensure it hands down a verdict that is just to both workers and employers.
“These socioeconomic indicators are so vital during the deliberations because of their movement, such as inflation, [which] has increased from 3.1 percent to 3.8 percent, according to the Neda [National Economic and Development Authority]. Such is important to consider in determining the possible adjustment [of the wage hike],” 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.
The deliberation is to be conducted by a seven-member committee comprised of two labor representatives, two employer representatives and three government officials. Angelita D. Senorin 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 Employers Confederation of the Philippines will represent the employers.
The government will be represented by Reynaldo R. Cancio of the Neda, Anacleto C. Blanco Jr. of the Department of Trade and Industry and Henry John S. Jalbuena of the Department of Labor and Employment.
In a previous interview with the BusinessMirror, Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod said the RTWPB-NCR should understand the gravity of its decision on the wage-hike proposals.
“In my opinion, the wage board must approve a wage hike favorable to the demands of the labor groups,” Maglunsod said.
“Our workers contribute to the expansion of Philippine economy, so let us not treat them like street scavengers begging for alms.”