Cebu business groups concerned on immediate wage hike
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The business community in Cebu expressed concerns about implementing wage hikes immediately amid clamors from labor groups to increase salaries due to soaring prices of basic commodities.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Central Visayas (RTWPB-7) on Tuesday, March 22, held a public consultation among concerned stakeholders to discuss proposals seeking to impose wage adjustments.
During the meeting, around 10 business groups, including the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), objected to plans on raising the minimum wage rates in the region.
They pointed out that most members of the business sector are still recovering from the economic pinch spawned by recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Typhoon Odette, and the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
In turn, the groups appealed for the government to look for alternative solutions to help employees cope with the soaring prices of basic commodities.
CCCI, through a representative, proposed for the public sector to prioritize job restoration, particularly among businesses badly hit by the pandemic, and job creation.
“We believe that job restoration and job creation will lead to more employment. Instead of only one working member of the family, this will mean several members of the family have the opportunity to work,” they said.
CCCI is Central Visayas’ largest business-oriented organization. With over 1,000 members, it is the country’s second-biggest business group, next to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
MCCI, for their part, also asked the government to help businesses, especially micro and small enterprises (MSMEs), in expediting their road to recovery instead of imposing a wage hike.
The chamber, which is Cebu’s second-largest business organization, said an increase in minimum wage rates may adversely affect MSMEs, which are still struggling to stay afloat despite relaxed COVID-related restrictions.
“It is best to allow the sector to reopen, heal, gain stability, create jobs, sustain momentum first before any wage adjustments. By doing this, we are putting the economy on the path of recovery,” a representative from MCCI said.
Other business groups that participated during Tuesday’s consultation, and shared the same sentiments with CCCI and MCCI, are the Confederation of Philippine Exporters in Cebu (PHILEXPORT-Cebu), Mactan Economic Processing Zone (MEPZ) Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc., Shipyard Association of Cebu, and the Cebu I.T. and BPM Organization (CIB.O).
Various labor groups recently filed wage hike petitions before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Central Visayas (RTWPB-7), asking for an increase in the daily minimum wage in the region.
Some groups proposed to raise the minimum wage up to P750 per day while others, like the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), requested to increase it up to P834.
The current daily minimum wage in Central Visayas stands at P404.
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