P6 to P75 wage hike sought in Region 12

Joel Gonzales, board secretary of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board said the board still has to convene for deliberation after the conclusion of a two-day public consultation held in the region last week.

“The board will come up with a decision on or before September 17 regarding the petitions filed by labor and management groups,” he said, adding that daily wage increase proposals vary from P6, P8, P15, P50 and P75.

The position of the management groups in the fields of academe and agribusiness was for lower increases ranging from P6 to P15 while the labor groups pushed for the extreme high of P50 or P75, he said.

But business chambers in the area insist there will no salary adjustments, Gonzales said.

“Based on the consultations, business leaders thought that it’s not yet time to issue another round of wage increase. But the labor groups are itching for increases because they said their purchasing power has diminished,” he said.

Allan Yaphockun, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Southern Mindanao governor, said another round of wage increase would further burden the employers.

“That’s why we our consistently standing for a status quo. In fact if you go around, only a “few” companies in the area could afford to pay the existing minimum wage,” he said.

Yaphockun’s hardware and construction business is located in South Cotabato province, and as PCCI-Southern Mindanao governor has jurisdiction over the Socsksargen (South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City) growth area.

Noting that the two private sector representatives come from Cotabato, Yapchokun said the growth area should have had representation to the wage board as it is where major economic activity occurs.

“It has been our clamor for years. We would be glad if the [Socsksargen] area will be given one of the two slots for private sector representatives,” he said.

Jose Teruel, a local leader of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno, said there is a need to adjust the daily minimum wage. “Times are getting harsher,” he said as he also pushed for a P125 across-the-board daily wage increase.

The latest wage hike order  in the region – P11 daily — was issued by the regional wage board on July 19, 2006 and took effect on August 6 the same year.

Based on that order, those employed by the non-agriculture sector shall receive a minimum daily pay of P224.50; in the agriculture sector, P208 for plantation workers and P205 for non-plantation employees; and for retail/service establishments, P212 for those with more than 10 workers and P206 for those with less than 10 workers. (MindaNews)