Cebu employers warn TUCP wage hike proposal is unsustainable

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A VISAYAN employers’ association said a recent petition for increase in the minimum wage for Central Visayas is “not sustainable” and will hold back the region’s competitiveness.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said in an email to BusinessWorld on Wednesday, “(I)t is important to understand that business has never been more challenged than today and is likewise laboring to survive, grow and compete.

“The idea of having one party ‘winning’ over another party for a small stagnant economic pie is simply not sustainable and a no-win situation for both employers and employees.”

On Monday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed a petition to increase the Central Visayas minimum wage to as high as P772 for private sector workers. The minimum daily wage in the region ranges from P313 to P368.

The CCCI said all establishments need to think of other ways to show how they value worker welfare since a higher salary cannot always be immediately granted. “It’s not all about take-home pay but making the human capital become competent and better in a holistic sense,” CCCI said.

If the wage petition is approved, CCCI said loss of employment is a possibility, while warning that companies will have greater incentive to consider digitizing their processes.

“Increasing the cost structure with a depressed market will eventually force businesses to automate, import cheaper materials (actually happening), or will discourage entrepreneurs to reinvest, worse, will sell out to exit from business,” the chamber said. — Gillian M. Cortez