Labor group slams delay in wage hike petitions

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

By Mario M. Banzon

A LABOR alliance is taking government to task as well as the employers represented in the wage board for delaying a decision on wage increases.

In a statement by the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) on Sunday, Sept. 3, ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) is showing bias and preference in favor of “abusive employers and capitalists by delaying and changing the pattern of wage increases.”

“As inflation continue(s) to overtake real wages, the wage board is becoming more obsolete and irrelevant to the needs of the workers in delaying for several weeks now the announcement of a new wage order,” Mr. Tanjusay said.

ALU is seeking a P184 across-the-board wage hike; TUCP, a P259 hike; and another group, an increase of P175 in four tranches. The board is expected this month to decide on the petitions.

Sought for comment, RTWPB-NCR Board Secretary Kim S. Lagcao said the board is again reviewing socioeconomic indicators based on the latest data.

This was supported by lawyer Vicente R. Leogardo, Jr., director-general of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) and one of the two representatives of ECoP in the wage board.

“During the last meeting, the members of the Board were examining the pertinent data to determine any wage increase based upon the prescribed standards and criteria,” he said in a text message to BusinessWorld on Sunday.

“The board is having a difficult time coming to a conclusion, given current economic situation and inflation,” Donald G. Dee, ECoP president, said via text when sought for comment.

Mr. Lagcao said no date has yet been set for the board’s next meeting.

The wage board is composed of representatives each from the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) as chair, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), ECoP and two representatives from the labor sector.