Labor group to file rejoinder on P320 wage-hike petition in NCR

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Workers stand on steel bars as they work at a construction site in Manila on May 18, 2017. — AFP

By Gillian M. Cortez

A LABOR group on Monday said it will send a rejoinder “within the week” to a business group’s motion to dismiss the wage hike petition of P320 in the National Capital Reigon.

“We are going to reply with our rejoinder to the motion filed by ECOP (Employers Confederation of the Philippines),” Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said. “In that rejoinder, we will insist by saying there is an extraordinary situation that merits our across-the-board P320 wage increase petition filed before the wage board even though the one-year prescriptive will lapse on October 2018.”

ECOP announced on its Web site last June 29 that it has filed a Motion to Dismiss the Trade Union Congress’(TUCP) wage petition to the NCR Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

“In its Motion to Dismiss, ECOP cited as grounds that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB), National Capital Region (NCR), is inhibited from entertaining said petition pursuant to Rule IV of National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Guidelines No. 01, Series of 2007, Amended Rules of Procedure on Minimum Wage Fixing,” the employers group said in a statement June 29.

ECOP said “there exists no supervening conditions that would allow the entertainment of the wage hike petition and demand a review of the wage rates prescribed under Wage Order No. NCR-21.”

NCR RTWPB’s Wage Order No. NCR-21 took effect on October 5, 2017, pegging the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila at P512.

TUCP said in a statement last month that the current NCR minimum wage of P512 “is not enough for a household with at least five members to survive and live a decent life.”

Wage boards cannot act on wage petitions if a wage order has not reached its one-year effectivity. There will be an exception to this if a region deems an existing “supervening condition” such as high inflation.

Mr. Tanjusay said, “There is a supervening event by what is going and by what will happen to our economy in forthcoming months. This is evidenced by the fact that there was an ‘unexpected’ 5.2% rise in inflation rate observed by no less than the NEDA — a member of the wage board.”

TUCP filed for an across-the-board wage increase for workers in the private sector at the NCR wage board on June 14. This petition is in line with House Bill 7805, filed by TUCP party-list Representative Raymond C. Mendoza, seeking a P320 wage increase in all regions.