THE leading mainstream labor organization said negotiating positions on the minimum wage increase in Metro Manila remain far apart ahead of the wage board’s upcoming decision for the region.
In a phone interview with BusinessWorld, Associated Labor Unions — Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) Spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said that the biggest labor coalition in the country is skeptical that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board for the National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) will grant a wage adjustment that will satisfy workers.
ALU-TUCP sought a wage hike of P334, based on its estimate of a living wage for a worker in the region beyond the current pay scale of P512 a day.
Mr. Tanjusay added that ALU-TUCP upgraded its initial counter-offer of P80, as reported earlier this month, to P100 when the NCR wage board had a private meeting on Friday after a public hearing. He described the new P100 offer as “take it or leave it.”
“Anything less than P100, the ALU-TUCP will boycott the proceedings.”
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) Acting President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said that his organization will honor any “reasonable” outcome of the wage decision.
“We will respect and comply with their decision given that they make a reasonable one,” he said in a phone interview with BusinessWorld.
ECoP was present during the management consultation and public hearing held by the NCR wage board last week. The employers have been warning that an excessive increase in the minimum wage will have adverse effects not only on business but also employment.
Last week, ECoP Governor Antonio H. Abad, Jr. called on the wage board during its meeting with management to not use inflation as the only basis for raising wages because inflation fluctuates while wages are not subject to reduction.
Mr. Ortiz-Luis said he expects the RTWPB-NCR to make a rational decision.
“I believe the board won’t decide on political and emotional driven motives,” he said.
On Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said that he also believes the NCR wage board will make a reasonable decision.
Mr. Tanjusay noted that Mr. Panelo failed to spell out what he considers reasonable.
“Mr. Panelo did not define, did not qualify what an acceptable wage order is,” the ALU-TUCP spokesperson said.
“We know that the Board is dominated by government and the employers and they always connive to outvote the labor representatives and members of the board to (arrive at) a meager wage increase. It is in the interest of businesses to keep wages to the barest minimum regardless of workers’ worsening condition,” Mr. Tanjusay said in a message to BusinessWorld on Monday. — Gillian M. Cortez