W. Visayas wage board says conditions rife for pay hike

Published by rudy Date posted on April 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The regional wage board in Western Visayas Thursday joined that of Metro Manila’s in declaring that a “supervening condition” existed in the area which merited increases in wages or nonwage benefits of workers, a ranking labor official said Thursday.

Ciriaco Lagunzad III, executive director of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), said that the wage board in Region VI declared that recent oil price hikes constituted a “supervening event.”

But the wage board of Region VII or Central Visayas ruled that no such condition existed in the area.

Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) are by law not allowed to raise salaries for one year after the last increases unless they declare that there is a supervening event in their area within that period.

“So besides the National Capital Region, Region VI has also declared a supervening event while Region VII and Region X (Northern Mindanao) earlier said there was no supervening condition,” Lagunzad said in an interview.

Lagunzad said that the nondeclaration of a supervening event did not bar labor groups from filing petitions for wage increases because wage boards could still change their mind.

Lagunzad said that other regional wage boards were still discussing whether to declare a “supervening event” or not.

The moderate labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said it would petition wage boards in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao for wage increases.

“We remind the wage board that a new salary increase should also attempt to raise workers’ standard of living and not to merely address their reduced purchasing power,” said TUCP spokesperson Rafael Mapalo.

“The need for wage increase is urgent. There is no room for delay,” he added.

However, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) called on organized labor to go slow on clamoring for wage hike because fuel prices remained volatile in the world market.

Under such a situation, a wage adjustment would trigger spiraling production costs and prices of commodities, said Ecop president Edgardo Lacson. –Philip Tubeza, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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