P18 wage hike in Calabarzon, but…
Ricky Pangilinan, 42, an employee of an electronics firm in Imus, Cavite, had already heard the news that an P18 daily wage increase and P12.50 daily productivity allowance will be implemented in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), starting on May 15.
But Pangilinan, who is paid P500 a day, will not get any raise since his daily pay is more than the present P337 minimum wage in the province.
He gets P500 a day “only because I’ve been with the company for 22 years,” Pangilinan said.
With his salary, he said, taking his family out for a day in a mall would be a luxury he could not afford. “If not for the little amount my wife earns from selling stuff on the streets, I don’t think my kids can go to school,” he said.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is implementing the P18 raise on daily minimum wage and the P12.50 daily productivity allowance in Calabarzon under the two-tier wage system, a new scheme the labor department is pilot-testing in the region.
“That’s good (the wage increase), but that doesn’t affect us (since) we’re (earning) above the minimum wage already,” Pangilinan said.
Although he is entitled to the productivity allowance, “that’s still for the company to determine. What if (the company) says they cannot afford it?” he asked.
Under the new wage order, the highest minimum wage rate, which is Tier 1, is set at P349.50 in nonagriculture establishments; P324.50 in agriculture-plantation (for example, sugarcane plantations); P304.50 in agriculture nonplantation or farms under 24 hectares; and P250 in the retail and service sector.
That is an additional P12.50 for workers in the nonagriculture sector; P5-P18 in the agricultural plantation; P9-P18 in agricultural nonplantation; and P18 per day in the retail and service establishments.
“The amount adjustment is … to uplift the standards of living of workers. A wage level that takes into account the region’s poverty threshold, average wage and related socio-economic parameters,” the DOLE said in a statement.
The productivity-based allowance, or Tier 2, is set at P12.50 per day for those earning P255 a day and above. This amount could go higher depending on the productivity improvement and incentives committee (PIIC), which is composed of both the management and workers’ representatives.
“Not all companies have the PIIC yet. (Under the wage order), they have to form their PIICs within three months (from May 15),” said Rovelinda dela Rosa, secretary of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.
Labor groups were not too happy with the wage increase.
“That is too small, not even enough to provide relief to the workers given the (economic) crisis,” said Hermie Marasigan, spokesperson of the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik).
Pamantik, the regional group of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno, has been pushing for a P125 across-the-board wage increase.
The moderate Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), which petitioned for an P86 raise in Calabarzon in March, questioned the government’s two-tier wage system, saying it “promotes inequality and discourages unionism” among workers.
“Two workers working on the same job for the same company could be earning different wages because the management may say the other one is more productive than the other,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP policy advocacy officer.
According to Dela Rosa, the new wage order covers all 2.5 million wage and salary workers, including contractual employees, in Calabarzon.
She said the new rate was based on the region’s poverty threshold and the companies’ capacity to pay its employees.
At present, Calabarzon’s poverty threshold, or the amount a family of five needs to meet its basic needs, is at P252.25 a day.
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