THE ARROYO GOVERNMENT has focused the last Labor Day celebration in its term on various ceremonies and activities to be held this Saturday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said in press releases yesterday.
The government had said earlier this week that any decision on wage hike petitions filed with various regional wage boards will not be made in time for Labor Day, and that most of the available non-wage benefits had already been given to cushion workers from the impact of the economic crisis.
This, as the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board of the National Capital Region (NCR, or Metro Manila) yesterday capped its public hearings on a P75 across-the-board daily wage hike proposed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). The last consultation was marked by both attending employers and labor groups digging in on their opposing stands.
Lined up for this Saturday are:
* the signing by labor groups of an endorsement of the ratification of the International Labor Organization Convention 187 or the Occupational Safety and Health Framework and of Convention 162 or Safe Asbestos Use;
* DoLE’s presentation of a 2010-2015 road map for greater respect and promotion of core labor standards, productive employment, social protection, and engagement of labor in decision-making process at all levels;
* a job fair to be held with 150 employers offering 30,000 local and 80,000 overseas employment opportunities; and
* the launch of an enhanced call, text and online worker information service.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will also deliver her valedictory speech addressed to the country’s workers.
But in a sign of continued challenges for the labor sector, the NCR wage board yesterday wrapped up its last public hearing with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines submitting a paper showing that the proposed P75 wage hike would entail an additional P67 billion in labor cost annually for non-agricultural firms in Metro Manila, and the TUCP arguing that a wage hike was “non-negotiable… after two years of no increase. A non-wage benefit is not acceptable.” –Businessworld