EMPLOYERS again pressed for a shift to “productivity-based” daily minimum wage raise during a public hearing on proposals to hike the floor pay of Metro Manila’s private sector workers on Friday last week.
That hearing — conducted after separate consultations with labor groups on Monday and with representatives of employers on Wednesday — did not yield any agreement on a wage hike and Ana C. Dione, chairperson of the National Capital Region’s Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board, told reporters after Friday’s hearing that she expected the board to encounter difficulty in arriving at an agreement on an increase in daily minimum wage given wide differences in positions among its members.
The board is scheduled to meet tomorrow.
“It’s about time for the board to innovate by conducting a productivity-based minimum wage policy,” said Employers Confederation of the Philippines Governor Antonio H. Abad, Jr. during the hearing on Friday, explaining that this type of adjustment would be more reasonable than a fixed increase because it would take into consideration the financial capacity of individual businesses.
He noted that the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon region that has a large concentration of industrial zones already implements a two-tiered wage system consisting of a daily minimum wage and performance incentive.
The implementing rules of that region’s 2017 wage order provide that “labor and management… are encouraged to adopt productivity improvement schemes such as time-and-motion studies, good housekeeping, quality circles, labor and management cooperation and implement gain-sharing and other performance incentive schemes in order to improve the quality of life of workers and, in turn, enable them to perform better and contribute to enterprise growth.”
“We must give way to holistic approaches rather than stop-gap measures such as periodic wage adjustment,” Mr. Abad said on Friday.
In the same meeting, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) 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.
Latest available Philippine Statistics Authority data show labor productivity — computed as gross domestic product per employed person — growing 8.4% last year, the biggest improvement in at least eight years.
For TUCP Assistant General Secretary Vicente C. Camillon, Jr., however, minimum wage earners have not been adequately rewarded for improved productivity. “Nagi-increase — productivity pero zero po ang increase sa real wages (Productivity may be increasing, but there is zero increase in wages adjusted to inflation),” he said in last Friday’s hearing. — Gillian M. Cortez