Noynoy ‘orders’ P25 wage hike; employers object

Published by rudy Date posted on April 15, 2011

President Aquino, who is lately besieged by falling survey ratings and threats of massive protest actions from a disgruntled labor sector, ordered the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) to implement a P25 wage increase for private employees in Metro Manila, a business sector source said.

The NWPC immediately complied yesterday citing a “supervening condition” that exists in the form of rising prices of essential commodities, the reason for it to consider labor groups’ petition for wage increases in Metro Manila.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the new figures on inflation will be one of the factors to consider before the regional wage board convenes and issues a decision next week.

Businessmen warned that any sudden increases in wages may result in layoffs thus worsening the economic condition on many families and demands that the government consult the business sector for any mandated wage hike increases.

Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president Edgardo Lacson bewailed that employers representatives in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in the National Capital Region (NCR) have earlier questioned to no avail the sudden decision to change the criteria on determining whether or not a “supervening condition” exists to pave the way for a pay hike prior to the lapse of the one-year period since the last wage order was promulgated.

Sergio Ortiz Luis, honorary chairman of the Ecop, said that it is not the right time for a government order to increase wages. He also estimated that only 15 percent of the total workforce would be benefited by any wage increase order since 85 percent of the labor force are either unemployed or underemployed.

According to Nikon Fameronag, DoLE spokesman, if there is supervening condition that causes price increase in all essential commodities, the government may consider the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) petition for a P75 wage hike.

He said the RTWPB is taking into account the continuing political unrest in the Middle East and Africa which has caused extraordinary increase in the prices of crude oil and local petroleum products.

The TUCP filed on March 8, 2011 a petition for a P75 across-the-board and region-wide increase in the NCR because of the continuing price increases in oil, utilities and basic goods and services. –Mina Diaz, Daily Tribune

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