RTWPB-9 okays wage hike ‘advisory’

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/2 May) – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-9 (RTWPB-9) on Thursday approved Tier 2 of the Two-Tiered Wage System “advisory” that would initially benefit the thousands of workers in the sardine canning industry in this city.

RTWPB Secretary Joel Ijirani said the advisory aims to augment the income of the workers as the board cannot issue yet a new wage order since the existing one has not reached one year as required by law.

Ijirani explained that the two-tiered wage system is a reform that maintains the mandatory minimum wage setting under Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, as the first tier (Tier 1) and complemented by a voluntary productivity-based pay scheme as the second tier (Tier 2).

“The grant of productivity performance-based pay will benefit both workers and employers since it will help raise workers’ standard of living while encouraging workers and enterprises to become competitive and productive,” the RTWPB-9 said in a briefer.

Edgar Lim, employers’ representative to the board, described the advisory as a “win-win” formula since “the company will benefit by increased output and at the same time the workers can receive the corresponding incentive.”

Lim, however, said the incentive will only be granted to the workers if the company’s productivity improved by over 10 percent.

He said the incentive scheme will have to be formulated by both the employers and the workers since companies have different systems.

“It depends on what kind of incentives. It may be in the form of salary or other non-wage benefit,” he said.

“It depends on the labor and management if they will incorporate it in the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) the productivity incentive scheme,” he added.

Lim said the sardine canning industry is expected to be the first to implement the advisory since it is the dominant employer in the region.

The 11 sardine canning factories based in this city employ over 30,000 workers from different parts of the region.

Department of Labor and Employment Regional Director Sisinio Cano said a copy of the advisory will be sent to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) for review and concurrence.

Cano, who sits as the RTWPB chairman, said the advisory will take effect 15 days after publication once concurred in by the Commission. (MindaNews)