TUCP rejects P25 wage increase for Metro workers

Published by rudy Date posted on May 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  Organized labor rejected yesterday the proposal of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to grant a P25 increase in the daily salary of workers in Metro Manila, while employers only offered a P13 wage hike.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the workers couldn’t accept the P25 wage adjustment proposed by the BSP, which is far from the P75 daily salary increase the workers are demanding.

Raffy Mapalo, TUCP deputy spokesman, said workers in Metro Manila need at least P75 increase in their daily basic pay to cope with the rising cost of basic commodities, but the workers might consider lowering their demand to P45.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. warned the government that the wage board in Metro Manila should not give a wage adjustment higher than P25 to avoid inflation.

Mapalo, however, said the BSP has no basis for setting a limit on the wage adjustment to be approved by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in the National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR).

“We think that wage determination is not BSP’s area of responsibility and competency. Let us leave that to the wage boards,” said Mapalo.

“If employers keep denying wage increases, workers’ conditions and living standards will never improve,” Mapalo added.

RTWPB-NCR chair Raymundo Agravante said the board still has no amount of the wage hike at this time since they would still have to deliberate on Monday and hopefully come out with a decision on the same day.

The board granted P22 increase in basic pay of minimum wage earners in Metro Manila last year.

Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Edgardo Lacson said companies could not give the P75 daily wage hike demanded by workers but they are willing to give a P13.35 daily wage increase in Metro Manila.

“Based on the erosion rate (of the peso) in the National Capital Region (NCR), the increase in wages should only be P13.35,” Lacson said during the National Conference of Employers held yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

Lacson said employers in southern Luzon are only offering P1 daily wage hike.

He explained that the erosion rate is the current value of the peso versus inflation or the prices of basic goods and commodities. The data used by ECOP to compute their erosion rate was from July 2010 to March 2011.

“We cannot give the P75. The purpose of the tripartite meeting was to hold a dialogue but where was the dialogue last Monday? They were hurling things at us,” Lacson said.

He noted that there are three types of arguments in the adjustment of wages, the economic, the emotional and the political.

Lacson said it should not be all emotional and that the economic computations and repercussions should also be considered.

He warned the workers that companies might be forced to lay off employees if the P75 wage hike is enforced.

Lacson said that in Japan, many companies with 400 subsidiaries in CALABARZON have production cutbacks as a result of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant leak.

Lacson said the volatile and temporary increases in the prices of fuel, transport and basic goods have resulted in hearings of the wage board.

The first hearing was last Monday; the next is on May 9. He estimated that the publication of the decision will be on May 15 and the new wage will be implemented in June.

He appealed to the concerned people to harness collectively, through the tripartite arrangement, a solution to address this temporary market aberration without irreparably harming the long-term economic future.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was the keynote speaker during the ECOP conference, said he is certain that there will be adjustment in wages but he still cannot say by how much.

He said he does not have an acceptable range yet but this matter will be discussed during the tripartite meetings.

“President Aquino’s 22 point labor agenda is anchored on a tripartite model and builds on the foundations of tripartism set by previous administrations,” Binay said. –Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) with Elisa Osorio, Jose Rodel Clapano, Sheila Crisostomo

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