“Actually, there were extreme proposals from the employers’ and employees’ groups. The former wanted a zero increase while the latter asked for P30 daily hike in their salaries,” he said.
Gonzales said workers in the non-agriculture sector will get a daily wage hike of P11; those in the plantation sector of agriculture will get P8; those in the non-plantation sector of agriculture will receive P5 and those who are employed in businesses with more than 10 workers will receive P6. No increase was granted for employees in businesses with less than ten workers.
Southwestern Mindanao covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The wage increase is incorporated under the Cost of Living Allowance. The new wage order, which was published in a local newspaper last July 22, was reached following a series of public consultations in the region.
When the new wage order takes effect, the minimum salary rates will P224.50 daily for workers in the non-agriculture sector, P208 for plantation sector agriculture, P205 for non-plantation sector and P212 for those employed in businesses with more than 10 workers.
The board last granted an increase in the region on June 19, 2005. The minimum wage, inclusive of cost of living allowance was pegged at P213.50 daily for workers in the non-agriculture sector, P200 in the agriculture sector and P206 for the retail/service establishments.
Gonzales explained that when the wage order takes effect, overtime pay of minimum wage workers will be computed less than the living allowances. Computation will be based on the 2005 levels, he said.
He noted the wage rates came under review in the light of economic realities brought about by the successive adjustments in the prices of oil and other petroleum products.
Militant workers’ groups in the region assailed the board’s decision as they pressed for the P125 across-the-board daily increase.
Based on their demand, a minimum wage earner with six family members in the area should be paid P489 daily.
Tony Veneracion, chair of this city’s business chamber, said they understand that there is a need to increase the wages of minimum earners.
“We are not surprised by this development because we have been expecting a salary rate adjustment,” he said, adding the new wage order’s impact on small and medium enterprises is big. “Some of them would reel from this development,” he noted.
About 82 to 85 percent of businesses here have been reportedly classified as small and medium enterprises. (MindaNews)