Wage boards set to convene

Published by rudy Date posted on April 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  Wage boards nationwide are convening within the week to determine if there is a supervening condition that may be considered in granting a salary increase to minimum wage earners.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said upon declaration of the existence of a supervening condition, the wage boards can start public hearings for a wage increase.

Salary adjustments can be in the form of increase in basic pay or additional cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for the workers.

Baldoz said one of the most important factors to consider in declaring a supervening condition for salary increase is the present inflation rate.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) cannot immediately start hearings of petitions for salary increase because the one year prohibition for salary increase is still in effect.

Under the law, no wage hike petition can be heard within a year after the issuance of the last wage order.                          

In Metro Manila, the latest wage order was issued last July.      There were three instances in the past – such as in 2008 – when two wage orders were issued in the same year because of existing supervening conditions such as steep increases in the price of fuel, transportation, and basic commodities.

To help workers cope with their weakening purchasing power, Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is also offering non-cash benefits, including income augmentation assistance for workers nationwide.

“Aside from the pay hike that they could get anytime, there is also available income augmentation assistance, government discounts and other non-cash benefits for our workers,” she said.

Rep. Rafael Mariano of the Anakpawis party-list said the bill on the P125 daily wage hike is long overdue.

He reminded President Aquino that he supported the bill when he was a congressman, being one of the 151 lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill.

A month after it was approved on third reading on Jan 22, 2007, however, the measure was returned to the committee on labor and employment upon motion of Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla.

Mariano, therefore, urged the President to support new measures in Congress for a P125 daily salary adjustment.

Citing a study of the NWPC, he said the present daily wage of P404 in Metro Manila is only P239.76 “in real terms.”

Workers’ group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, which traditionally takes a moderate stand on the wage hike issue, favors a P75 increase in the daily minimum wage.

Employers have frowned upon legislated salary increases, arguing that wage fixing should be done by the regional wage boards. –-Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) with Jess Diaz

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