Wage hike for private workers in R-12?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao will convene anew this week to evaluate the possibility of implementing another adjustment in the daily minimum wages of private workers in the region.

Lawyer Ma. Gloria Tango, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Region 12 director, said RTWPB members will mainly assess during their scheduled meeting in Koronadal City on Friday the current socio-economic condition of the region and their impact on the area’s minimum wage earners.

“We will again take a look at our economic situation – the price adjustments in some of our basic commodities, fuel price movements, tuition and fare adjustments and other concerns,” said Tango, who chairs the RTWPB.

She said the result of their assessment will serve as basis whether there is a need at this time to increase the minimum daily wages of private workers in the area.

Private workers in Region 12 have not received any wage adjustment since June 2008.

Tango pointed out that they will conduct the assessment despite the absence of any petition for wage hike from organized labor groups in the region.

“It’s our mandate to review and decide possible wage adjustments with or without any petition from any group or concerned party,” she told MindaNews.

Last April, the wage board launched region-wide consultations with local workers’ groups, employers and other concerned sectors to assess the possibility of implementing a wage hike.

Joel Gonzales, RTWPB secretary, earlier said they found out that there is a need to increase the minimum wages of private workers in the wake of the impact of the economic and power crises as well as the drought that earlier hit the region.

But he said the board decided that it was not the appropriate time then to make the adjustment.

The current minimum wage rate for workers in the non-agriculture sector stands at P245 per day and in the agriculture sector, P225 for plantation and P220 for non-plantation workers.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Local labor groups allied with the National Confederation of Transport Workers Union-Alliance of Progressive Labor (NCTWU-APL) earlier called for the abolition of the RTWPB for supposedly failing to properly respond to the needs of local private workers.

In Region 12, the group said their studies showed that the acceptable living daily wage of private workers should be at least P645. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)