Labor optimistic about wage hike but pessimistic over amount

WHILE labor groups remain hopeful for a wage increase, they are doubtful about the amount.

They have petitioned a P155.80 across-the-board wage hike before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Central Visayas.

Cebu Labor Coalition (Celac) spokesperson Metudio Belarmino Jr. expressed hope that the wage board would grant their petition.

“Hopeful mi nga dunay increase pero doubtful mi sa amount,” he said in a text message. (We are hopeful that there will be an increase but we are doubtful about the amount the board will approve).

The RTWPB – 7 convened yesterday to discuss the petition filed last Feb. 28, seeking an additional P155.80, on top of the existing daily minimum wage of P366.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) Regional Director Cyril Ticao, who heads the wage board, said they still have to evaluate the indicators before deciding on the petition for a pay hike.

“Gipa-evaluate pa namin sa secretariat regarding sa petition. Gipa-determine pa namin kong merong economic indicator,” he told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.

He said they will take into consideration the increase in the prices of gasoline and other basic commodities.

“Hintayin nalang nila na ma finalize namin ang petition,” he added.

Labor groups such as the Celac, Lonbisco Employees Organization (LEO), Metaphil Workers Union (MWU), Nuwhrain-Montebello Charter, N-Katipunan and Unionbank Employees Association (UBEA), have sought a wage increase, saying minimum wage earners are greatly affected by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.

They said that the consumer price index is at already 155.7 and with a high inflation rate of 3.2, as of January 2018, the purchasing power of the peso has been reduced by at least 64 centavos.

Thus the current daily wage of P366 has lowered in value to P234.24.

“Klaro man g’yud kaayo nga nagkagrabe na ang pagsaka sa tanang presyo (It is clear that prices have increased),” Belarmino added.

If the wage increase petition is approved, the minimum take home pay would become P521.80 per day in the region.

The next wage board meeting is scheduled on March 21, after which a public consultation would be conducted, said Ticao.