THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it continues to study current settings for minimum wages after various wage hike petitions were filed before Labor Day last week.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello told reporters that the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) is still assessing the latest wage hike petitions filed by labor groups late last month.
“Ongoing, pinag-aaralan nila (they are studying it)…Every now and then there is that (kind of complaint) or (petition to) fix a new minimum wage so continuous pa rin ang pag-aaral (the evaluation is still continuing),” he said.
On April 29, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed a petition for a wage hike of P710 to add to the Metro Manila minimum wage.
Other wage hike petitions filed before the NCR wage board are from Kilos Na Manggagawa (KnM), Metal Workers’ Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP), and BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN), which asked for a P213 wage increase. The petition of the labor groups aim to make the National Capital Region (NCR) daily minimum wage rise to P750.
On April 30, Senator and Chair of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development Joel J. Villanueva said in a radio interview “Naniniwala tayo na hindi dapat kaagad-agad isinasara ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng (we believe that we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a) second round of wage increase in less than a year.”
Only the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of each region has the authority to adjust wages, and only after 12 months lapse since the last wage order, subject to approval by the NWPC. Only “supervening conditions” warrant a wage adjustment less than a year since the last wage order.
For NCR, the last wage adjustment was issued on November 22, 2018 — less than six months ago. The wage order called for a daily minimum wage of P537 for non-agricultural private sector workers.
The wage setting system can only be amended through legislation.
Late last year, NWPC Director Maria Criselda R. Sy said that the NWPC has been tasked to conduct a third-party study on the current wage determination system.
“That is their mandate: to continuously assess the economic situation to assess and recommend a wage hike adjustment,” Mr. Bello said. — Gillian M. Cortez