Pay hike after Labor Day

Published by rudy Date posted on April 14, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  Workers in Metro Manila may receive a much-awaited increase in their take-home pay, but this can happen only after Labor Day.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NPWC) has confirmed the declaration of a “supervening condition” in Metro Manila, which serves as a go-signal for the wage board to immediately start hearings and deliberations on pending wage petitions despite a one-year prohibition.

“What is very clear is that the process has started,” Baldoz said.

The wage board would start its deliberations at the end of the month, or 15 days after the publication of the declaration of a supervening condition, she said.

Under the law, wage boards are restricted from granting successive salary increases in a single year unless there is a supervening condition or an extraordinary increase in prices of essential commodities.

After a series of consultations and meetings, Baldoz said the wage board in Metro Manila declared a supervening condition in the region and stressed the need to review the current daily minimum wage rate of P404.

“The continuing political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa is causing extraordinary increases in prices of petroleum products and this also resulted in higher transport fares,” the wage board said.

Representatives of employers in the wage board are against the increase, saying there is no basis for the declaration of the existence of a supervening condition.

The inflation rate in the National Capital Region declined to four percent in March and this is still within the projected three to five percent inflation rate, the employers said.

Baldoz said the wage board in Northern Mindanao already ruled that there was no supervening condition in the region, while wage boards in the rest of the regions nationwide are expected to come out with their decision within the week.

Based on the current condition in Metro Manila, the wage board would conduct public hearing and deliberations to determine the amount and form of financial relief to be given the workers, Baldoz said.

“If the increases in prices of products would be sustained and the situation would not be altered then the board would have to consider the amount and form,” she said.

Baldoz, however, stressed the wage board would also have to take into consideration the capability of employers to grant a wage hike.

Considering the need to publish the declaration and the conduct of the public hearing, Baldoz said it would be highly unlikely for the wage board to issue a new wage order as a Labor Day gift to workers.

“I think the wage board would be able to grant a salary increase after the Labor Day celebration due to the requirement for public hearing,” Baldoz explained. –Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star)

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