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Labor groups: Scrap DTI-7, Neda-7 reps’ voting power in wage board

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Victor Anthony V. Silva February 16,2017 - 09:23 PM

AFTER their proposal for a P150 minimum wage increase was brought down to the approved P13 wage hike for Central Visayas, the disappointed labor groups in Cebu said they would lobby in Congress for the scrapping of the voting power of representatives of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas (NEDA-7) and the Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7) in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Central Visayas (RTWPB-7).

NEDA-7 and DTI-7 have not been in favor of their proposed wage for several years, said the representatives of 14 labor groups including those from Cebu Labor Coalition (Celac) during a meeting at the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (DOLE-7) office in Cebu City yesterday.

“The last time the wage board approved more than P13 increase was in 1989 which was P25,” said Metudio Belarmino, Celac president.

Last week, the RTWPB-7 approved P13 wage increase for workers in the region. There is no specific date yet for the implementation.

“If this will happen, that NEDA-7 and DTI-7 will lose their voting power, then that will be the time that the DOLE director can use his voting power in which side he is in favor (with) — a wage increase or not?” Belarmino said.

The RTWPB-7 is made up of two representatives from the labor sector, two from the private sector, Neda-7, DTI-7 and the DOLE-7 chief.

The labor chief as chairman of the wage board can only vote when a tiebreak is needed in the voting.

“They have two jobs, wage and productivity, but it seems that productivity has been left behind,” Belarmino said.

Jojo Regis, representative of National Union of Workers in Hotel Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), said that they would need help from specific people in Congress and even in the Senate who could address their problems in labor.

Aside from that, they also planned to meet with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

“I respect their opinion if that is their solution towards the problem,” said DOLE-7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga when sought for comment on the labor groups’ plans.

Sarcauga said that what had been agreed on — the P13 wage increase — had been discussed well by the board.

Neda-7 chief Efren Carreon also said that he would not comment on the labor groups’ plans and that he respects their opinion.

“In fairness, the board is guided by the guidelines set by the national wages and productivity commission (NWPC), which have been used ever since as provided by law. The labor representatives are fully aware of this, and this applies to all wage boards through out the country,” said Philip Tan, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry past president.

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TAGS: Cebu, Central Visayas, DTI, employee, National Economic and Development Authority, NEDA, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, RTWPB, salary, wage, wage hike

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