Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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LABOR GROUPS DISAPPOINTED

Minimum wages raised in the Visayas

WAG EHIKE DEMAND Labor activists call for a P750 increase in minimum wage during a protest in front of the House of Representatives. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The three regional wage boards in the Visayas have approved an increase of P13.50 to P41.50 in the daily minimum pay of workers in the private sector to help them cope with rising prices of basic commodities.

The adjustments would raise the minimum wage to up to P305 in Eastern Visayas, P365 in Western Visayas and P386 in Central Visayas—way below the demand of labor groups in the country.

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Amid soaring prices of goods and services, the party-list group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has filed a bill seeking a P320 across-the-board wage increase in all regions that would lift the minimum daily pay to between P576 and P832.

The Makabayan bloc in the House has also filed a measure that would raise basic wage nationwide to P750.

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Migration

On Tuesday, the Associated Labor Unions assailed the wage increases in Western and Central Visayas, saying these would do little to help improve workers’ lives and would only promote migration to urban centers.

The highest adjustment was granted in Western Visayas, where the wage board agreed to raise the minimum pay by P13.50 to P41.50, with cost of living allowances (Cola).

In Eastern and Central Visayas, the boards agreed to pay increases of P15 to P20, based on the capacity of the business sector to absorb the amounts without having to retrench workers.

Moratorium in Boracay

Johnson Cañete, the Department of Labor and Employment director in Western Visayas, said there would be a moratorium on wage adjustment on Boracay Island, which was closed to tourism for six months while it was being rehabilitated.

The moratorium will be lifted three months after the island reopens, said Cañete, who is also the chair of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board.

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The biggest wage increase went to nonagricultural, commercial and industrial business establishments employing more than 10 workers. Their minimum wage would go up by P41.50 (P26.50 plus P15 in Cola), bringing their floor pay to P365.

For businesses with less than 10 workers, an additional P18.50 and P5 in Cola were approved, raising their minimum wage to P295.

Unified subcategories

The wage order, Cañete said, also unified the plantation and nonplantation subcategories for the agricultural sector and increased the salaries to P295, including a P5 Cola.

In the sugar industry, the Cola would be added to the pay only after six months, in time for the start of milling season.

In Eastern Visayas, daily minimum wage in both agriculture and nonagriculture sectors will be P305.

Cyril Ticao, labor regional director, said the board adjusted the wages on its own, without waiting for someone to file a petition.

“We took into consideration the increasing prices (of basic commodities) and gasoline,” Ticao said.

In Central Visayas, Metro Cebu workers will receive the biggest wage increase of P20, bringing their floor pay to P386.

But for workers outside Metro Cebu and the rest of Cebu province, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental, the wage adjustment will only amount to P15.

Workers in the cities of Toledo and Bogo, and other towns in Cebu, except Bantayan and Camotes islands, will get a P348 basic pay.

A minimum wage of P338 will be in effect in Bohol and Negros Oriental, and P323 in Siquijor, Bantayan and Camotes. —With a report from Jovic Yee

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TAGS: ALU, Labor groups, Makabayan bloc, regional wage boards, TUCP, Visayas minimum wages
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