31 Oct 2019 – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) RTWPB simplifies minimum wages to just two rates. Once in a while, a regional tripartite wages and productivity board surprises, with a ‘smart’ move, when one least expects it. With its 2019 wage order no. 20, CAR has now only two minimum wage rates – (1) for ‘All industries/sectors employing 11 or more’; and (2) for ‘All industries/sectors employing 10 or less’. [Read more]
Not your conventional agriculture and non-agriculture classification. It had 53 wage levels in its first wage order In 1994.
The amounts of increase are another matter: still poverty wages.
Still a long way from the ambition of the ITUC ASEAN +50 campaign. Also way, way below NTUC Phl’s +50% campaign for wages across-the-board for all regions.
Many things have happened since the Philippine wage rationalization act of 1989.
From one national minimum wage, to a slew of regional, provincial, even municipal wages.
There was a time there were hundreds of minimum wage rates in one (yes, one) region. With ridiculous exemptions, too. As if workers were exempt from the ravages of inflation.
These multiple rates were, and are, a challenge to information dissemination, enforcement, and monitoring. Labor representatives in the NWPC doubted whether anyone, including labor inspectors, were fully abreast with the rates.
Even with NWPC’s guidance, some RTWPBs really went astray, taking less-traveled paths to judicious wage fixing.
NWPC and the regional boards themselves are (slowly) bringing sanity back, ‘ordering’
simplification of wages, for, as mentioned earlier, better information, enforcement, monitoring
Almost all regions have responded, but deep self-inflicted wounds in some have made a return to fewer rates difficult. Simplification adjustments required are just too high, higher than could be expected from that area, or simplification periods too long, in several tranches (read years of simplification adjustment), or both.
That’s why congratulations to the CAR board! You are a model for others. Good news in this country where real good news for workers and their families are hard to come by,
Now for the next good thing, let’s raise the (wage) floor to the roof! Poverty wages are not sexy. And they fan discontent.