R-12 wage board still undecided on pay hike

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 September)  — Workers in Region XII will have to wait for at least a few months more for a possible increase in their salaries after the regional wage board failed to arrive at a decision on the issue.

Joel M. Gonzales, assistant regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said the multi-sectoral consultations held last week in this city and in Kidapawan failed to resolve whether a wage hike will be implemented in the region.

“There’s no decision yet to increase the minimum wage in the region. The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board will still have to deliberate and we will come out with a decision probably by October,” Gonzales today said.

Gonzales, also the wage board secretary, clarified that no group has formally filed a petition seeking for a salary hike.

He said the wage board acted moto propio (on its own) in reviewing the present rates.

There has been no salary increase for minimum wage earners in the private sector for two years now in the region, which straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

In April this year, Ma. Gloria A. Tango, regional Labor department director, said they met with the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry and Commission on Higher Education, among others, to determine if the region’s economic
situation called for an increase in the salaries of minimum wage earners in the private sector.

Based on that meeting, she noted that “there are no abnormalities” in the area’s economic situation that would warrant a salary adjustment.

This despite the rising cost of electricity caused by the power crisis that was blamed on the dry spell and plunged parts of the region in 12 hours of rotational outage.

In June last year, the prescriptive one-year period to file a wage increase had lapsed, with the wage order in effect still dated June 16, 2008.

Based on the order, 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.

The business sector has maintained that there should be no wage increase as it would be an additional burden, while progressive labor groups have been pressing for a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage increase. (MindaNews)