Wage hike for CalabarzonBy Maricar Cinco |Inquirer Southern Luzon
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has promised an increased and simplified minimum wage rate in the Calabarzon region, but not before Labor Day on May 1.
Regional Labor Director Alex Avila said the DOLE’s two-tier wage system, which consists of a mandatory regional floor wage as the first tier and a productivity-based pay system as the second tier, would “definitely” increase wages in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
The two-tier system would “simplify” the 34 wage rates in Calabarzon and trim them down to only 16 minimum wage rates within five years, he said.
The regional wage board has approved the new rate on Friday, which was expected to be approved by the National Wages and Productivity Commission by next week.
Avila declined to discuss the specific rates until the publication of the implementing rules and regulations, which is expected on Monday.
The new wage rate would take effect 15 days after the publication on a newspaper of general circulation, he said.
“The two-tier wage system will be first implemented in Calabarzon. We will be like the laboratory (of this project),” Avila said in a phone interview on Friday.
In the new wage system, the floor wage would be higher than the poverty threshold but lower than average wages, while the amount of the productivity-based pay shall be mutually agreed upon by the company’s employer and employees, Avila said.
In Calabarzon, depending on the province and the labor sector, the current highest minimum daily wage rate is at P337 for workers in the non-agriculture sector, while the lowest minimum wage rate is at P179 per day for workers in the retail and service sector.
Despite government reforms in the wage system, militant groups in Southern Tagalog are expected to hold Labor Day protests in Calamba City and in parts of Quezon and Batangas provinces, according to Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Elmer Labog.
Labog said his group was still pushing for the P125 across-the-board daily wage hike, citing the recent spikes in oil prices.
Meanwhile, the DOLE in Calabarzon will hold simultaneous job fairs at 14 sites on Labor Day. At least 10,256 local job vacancies and 2,555 overseas job openings are up for job seekers in the electronic, industrial and business outsourcing sectors.