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Central Luzon workers to get P28 Cola hike

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Starting June 24, minimum-wage earners working in private firms in Central Luzon should get P28 in daily cost of living allowance (Cola), according to the latest order of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.

The P28 is a result of the combination of the new P14 Cola granted through Wage Order No. 16 and the previous P14 given through Wage Order No. 15, wage board secretary Elizabeth Teves said by phone on Thursday.

The new P14 Cola was below the P90 daily across-the-board wage increase that the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines sought for Central Luzon workers on May 5.

In the order, the board said it found the “existence of supervening condition” in the region, which the National Wages and Productivity Commission confirmed through a resolution.

The latest wage order came seven months after the most recent order issued by the wage board. The Department of Labor and Employment has not reported how many companies complied with the previous wage order.

“The board deemed it necessary to provide workers immediate relief from the rising costs of living,” the board said.

Two members of the seven-person board dissented against the order.

Victoria Gaetos, governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the region, said the P14 increase was a “compromise.”

She said the order would force many firms to stop hiring “under-skilled” workers.
The minimum wage for non-agricultural workers in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales is pegged at P330 (firms with P30 million or more assets) and P322.50 (firms with assets below P30 million).

Plantation workers in the same provinces stand to get P300, while non-plantation workers, P284. Cottage or handicraft workers are also entitled to get P284.

Workers in retail and service firms employing 16 or more people are set to get P319, while those in companies with less than 16 employees are entitled to P305.

In Aurora, minimum wages were set at P279 (non-agricultural), P264 (plantation), P244 (non-plantation), P201 (retail and service employing not more than 10 workers) and P252 (cottage/handicraft).

The latest order exempted establishments in retail and services employing no more than 10 workers and distressed companies.

In Nueva Ecija, businessmen have asked labor officials to keep wage rates in their current levels.

“We are pleading for a status quo on the daily wage. The increase should be done when the economy has become really good,” said Reynato Arimbuyutan, president of the Nueva Ecija Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Tags: Agriculture , Business , Cost of living , Economy , Industry , Labor , Regions , wages

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