Additional pay hike unlikely in Metro

Published by rudy Date posted on May 11, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  Workers in Metro Manila are unlikely to get additional pay.

Ciriaco Lagunzad III, National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) executive director, yesterday said they usually dismiss a petition to reverse a wage board’s ruling.

“On several occasions, the commission received appeals on wage orders, but the boards render the best decision on this matter and any appeal is usually dismissed,” he said.

He said the wage boards follow certain processes before making a clear and reasonable decision.

“It is very rare for the NWPC to overturn or revise the decision of the wage board because the Commission gives the boards autonomy to make this kind of decision,” he said.

Lagunzad said employers are required to post a bond equivalent to the total increase in the region if they decide to appeal a decision to stop implementation of a wage order.

“And as a practice and in accordance with the rules, the appeal will not stop the enforcement of the wage order,” he said.

Organized labor led by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has been pushing for a P75 across-the-board increase in the daily pay of workers in Metro Manila.

However, most employers are only willing to provide a P13 adjustment.

Dismayed by the wage board’s decision, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) urged the government to reverse the ruling during a rally at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila yesterday.

PM chairman Renato Magtubo said that President Aquino should have asked the members of the Metro Manila wage board to grant a salary increase not just an emergency cost of living allowance (ECOLA).

“Once more the wage boards have betrayed the workers,” he said.

“The P22 ECOLA is symbolic of the wage boards’ 22 years of service to the capitalists rather than the workers.”

The wage boards have outlived their usefulness and should be replaced by a Wage Commission, Magtubo said.

‘No one wins’

No one wins with the P22 increase in the cost of living allowance (COLA) of minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) said yesterday.

Dr. Genevie Rivera, HEAD executive director, said the P22 cannot even make a dent on the inflation rate.

“No one wins here, not the workers and not the employers or the businessmen,” she said.

HEAD is pushing for a P125 increase in daily salary to enable workers to level off with the inflation rate.

Rivera said petitions for such amount have been pending since 1998 when the minimum transport fare was only P4.

“Now, it’s already P8, so P125 is not enough to cope with the rising cost of living,” she said.

“But it is much better than P22 COLA.”

Rivera said with such COLA, the capacity of Metro Manila workers to buy is still very weak.

“So in the end, even the businessmen lost,” she said.

“I hope the government will seriously look into the plight of workers. It’s about time that they do something to improve their life.”

Wage boards asked to hike COLA further

Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday urged the tripartite wage boards to raise further the P22 approved hike in the COLA for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila.

Estrada said the amount is not enough and that deliberations on the proposed actual wage increase should continue.

“I share the workers’ sentiment that this COLA is very measly, especially in face of the unabated jacking up of prices of petroleum as well as food products and basic commodities,” he said.

Estrada, concurrent chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, and the joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, said employers in the country could provide a reasonably higher additional pay to their workers.

“But more than that, what we should work for is actual increase in their wages, which would be included in the overall computation of their compensation,” he said.

The DOLE and the different wage boards should continue deliberations on the calls for actual wage hikes, adding his committee is likewise doing its share in finding the real “win-win solution” in the issue of wage and benefits for the workers, Estrada said.

Zubiri said the P22 increase can hardly buy a kilo of rice and thus, was like a slap in the face.

“That’s for palay, not rice. They should increase the P22, make it P50 at the very least.”

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said he would support moves for a legislated wage increase.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said said a subsidy should be given to every household for cooking oil, cooking gas and the cost of rice.–Sheila Crisostomo, Christina Mendez, Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star)

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