RTWPB approves P31/day wage hike in Central Visayas

·4 min read

WORKERS in Central Visayas will get a P31 increase in their daily wage after this was approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB 7) on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

This was confirmed by lawyer Evita Mendoza-Balane, officer-in-charge board secretary of the RTWPB.

Metro Cebu workers (agricultural and non-agricultural) called class A will now receive P435 in pay from P404, Class B which previously earned P366 per day will now get P397, while Class C workers who earned P356 daily will now get P387 on the implementation of the new order.

The RTWPB 7 also approved an increase of P500 for domestic workers in Central Visayas so that those working in chartered cities and first class municipalities can now earn P5,500 per month while those working elsewhere can now earn P5,000.

On Wednesday, May 25, the approved resolution will be sent to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), which is given by law 10 days to review the RTWPB 7’s decision, Mendoza-Balane said.

She said if the NWPC finds nothing wrong with the decision, it will give the go signal to the RTWPB to publish the wage increase and the new daily wage will take effect after 15 days.

Mendoza-Balane said four labor groups filed petitions to increase the minimum wage led by the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, which sought a P430 wage hike, Cebu Labor Coalition et al. that sought a P308 wage hike, and Alyansa sa mga Mamumuong Kontraktwal.

Mendoza-Balane said the RTWPB considered all aspects such as the consumer price index, poverty threshold and inflation in coming up with the amount of the increase.

The RTWPB is headed by its chairperson Undersecretary Victor Del Rosario who is the acting regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment, vice chairperson Director Efren Carreon of the National Economic and Development Authority 7, Director Ma. Elena Arbon of the Department of Trade and Industry, lawyer Nora Analyn Demeterio-Diego and Jose Tomongha as labor representatives and Dr. Philip Tan as management representative.

Challenge

The development drew mixed reactions from the business sector.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Central Visayas governor Melanie Ng said the local chambers in the region had submitted position papers to the RTWPB 7 and they are glad their concerns were heard and discussed.

“The increase will pose a challenge, especially to our micro, small and medium sized member companies in the region that are still recovering from the (Covid-19) pandemic and Typhoon Odette. But as responsible businesses, we encourage our members to follow and comply with the new wage order,” said Ng.

“I believe it’s a fair increase. It was higher than we expected, but our workers also need it,” said Charles Kenneth Co, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Co said businesses will need to focus now “on increasing productivity and output in order to cope with the increase in labor cost so we can maintain our operations without letting go of workers.”

He, however, warned that with the increase some businesses may need to increase their selling price to pass on some of the cost.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Kelie Ko hoped the wage hike would not prompt struggling micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to let go of workers.

“We from the business community do empathize with our workers,” said Ko. “There will be companies that will be able to absorb the additional costs, and there will be companies that will have to rationalize their expenses. We just hope that retrenchment will be their last option.”

“We really live in unprecedented and uncertain times,” said Steven Yu, immediate past president of the MCCI.

He said both employers and employees were victims of the pandemic, natural disasters and geopolitical developments.

“While we empathize with the labor community on the soaring costs of living, we foresee hardship and pressure on the recovery and survival of MSMEs at this time when most MSMEs have not yet gotten back on their feet. While those who have jobs will experience increased purchasing power, job creation and availability will also decrease,” Yu said.

For retail entrepreneur Robert Go, a wage hike now would be a “death sentence” to businesses as many haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic, Typhoon Odette and the soaring oil prices.

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