METRO MANILA’s wage board will decide “as soon as possible” on labor groups’ petitions for an increase in daily minimum wage for the National Capital Region’s private sector workers after it wrapped up consultations on this matter on Friday.
“What I can really say is we will work on it as soon as possible,” Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-NCR Director Ana C. Dione told reporters after consultations with all affected groups concluded.
“As to dates, hindi ko pwede masasabi sa inyo (I cannot say),” she added.
“We will really try our best kasi ang daming (because there are so many) inputs… Napakahirap kasi ilan kami? (It’s very difficult because how many are we in the board)? Seven. Even individually, magkakaiba ang views so mahirap (our views are different so it’s difficult to decide).”
The board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday next week.
On Friday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines reiterated the need to add up to P334 to Metro Manila’s daily minimum wage of P475-512, while the Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates has asked for an even bigger P688 increase.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines has balked at any wage hike at this time of multi-year-high inflation, arguing it would force many micro, small- and medium-scale enterprises that account for 99% of Philippine businesses and more than 60% of jobs in the country to lay off workers or close shop altogether, thus stoking unemployment in the country.
Businesses will also be hard pressed to pass on the added labor cost to customers by jacking up their prices, hence, stoking overall inflation further.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III had said last month that he expects a wage hike of at least P20 for Metro Manila’s private sector workers, while the central bank has said an P18-20 daily minimum wage hike had been assumed in calculating the 2-4% full-year inflation target range for 2018.
So far, 12 of the country’s 17 regions have adopted increases in daily minimum wage for private sector workers, ranging from P8.50 in Western Visayas to as much as P56 in Davao Region. — Gillian M. Cortez