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Worker reps call ₱25 NCR wage increase inadequate

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wage protest
PHILSTAR

TWO WORKER representatives on the Metro Manila Wage Board said the reported P25 wage hike for the region is inadequate, ahead of the new wage order’s official announcement today.

In a mobile message to BusinessWorld last week, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board — National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) worker’s representative Angelita D. Señorin said that she does not agree with the P25 wage increase and P10 cost of living allowance (COLA) that the board reportedly decided on.

“The P25 increase and integration of P10 COLA is far from an inclusive increase, given the ‘amazing’ real economic growth. Even as productivity has grown, there has been no real wage increase,” she said.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the labor productivity rate was 8.4% — the highest in eight years.

The other worker’s representative on the wage board, German N. Pascua Jr., concurred that P25 is insufficient for workers in Metro Manila who earn the minimum wage.

“The amount is too small,” he said in a text message to BusinessWorld on Sunday.

He added that he still voted for the P25 wage increase and P10 COLA “with reservations with respect to the amount and coverage.”

RTWPB-NCR worker’s representative Alberto R. Quimpo declined to give his reaction to the wage order and added that the National Wages and Productivity Commission(NWPC) will still have to Review the decision.

“We still have to wait for the National Wages and Productivity Commission to act on the decision of the wage board,” he said in a phone interview with BusinessWorld on Sunday.

The RTWPB-NCR held final deliberations on Tuesday after consultations with the labor and business sectors. The wage board has yet to officially announce the amount the board members voted on, though the decision has leaked as a P25 wage hike.

Last week, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) Acting President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. told reporters that the NCR wage board agreed on a wage adjustment of P25. The employers’ group acting president also said that he will respect whatever the RTWPB-NCR decides regarding the new wage adjustment.

The unofficial announcement of the P25 wage increase caused Associated Labor Union — Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) to note that the decision took into consideration the needs of employers over workers.

“The government and employers took the same side and outvoted labor,” said ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay during a briefing last week.

TUCP had sought a P334 wage hike last month, close to what it considers a living wage. They also announced later a new offer of P100, “take it or leave it.”

One of the worker’s representatives, Ms. Señorin added, “I dissent to the wage order. Our government and employer partners are partners only in words.”

The Department of Labor and Employment also announced last week that it will officially announce the new wage order for NCR minimum wage earners today.

Wage Order No. NCR-21 took effect on Oct. 5, 2017, raising wages for the region by P21, with a P10 COLA. The lapse of the order’s anniversary last month authorizes the wage board to issue a new order. — Gillian M. Cortez