Wage hike freeze in Western Visayas hit
BACOLOD CITY — The militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Negros Occidental on Thursday said it was strongly opposing the moratorium on the implementation of the P10 wage increase in areas of Western Visayas hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan).
“That is unjust and unfair on the part of the labor sector who suffered a lot due to the calamity,” said KMU Negros spokesperson Ian Evidente.
“We condemn DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) Director (Ponciano) Ligutom for [giving in to] the caprices and will of the businessmen and associations that pushed for the [moratorium on the] wage increase,” he added.
Ligutom asked the labor group to understand last Monday’s decision of the Western Visayas Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to hold in abeyance the P10 wage increase for workers of establishments affected by Yolanda in the region.
“As much as we want the workers to enjoy the much-awaited wage increase, we also wish for the business sector to recover from their great losses,” said Ligutom.
Ligutom said the wage board had seen the massive devastation wrought by Yolanda to the business community in Northern Iloilo, Northern Negros, Capiz, Aklan and Antique provinces, and, as a result, unanimously granted the request subject to the review of the National Wages and Productivity Commission.
He said the wage board would review the moratorium after six months and decide if it should be continued or not.
The RTWPB, as it deferred the implementation of the P10 wage increase in devastated areas in Western Visayas, also required the companies seeking a freeze wage hike to get certification from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (LDRRMC) that their area was hit by Yolanda.
Ligutom said establishments not certified by the OCD and LDRRMC would have to implement the new wage increase that took effect November 29.
The agreement was based on the letter-request of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry dated Dec. 10, for a moratorium on the implementation of the wage order increases in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas due to the scope of destruction brought about by the supertyphoon.
Before the P10 hike in wages, the daily minimum wage in Western Visayas implemented since May 31, 2012, is P277 for nonagriculture, industrial and commercial firms employing more than 10 workers, and P235 for those employing 10 or less workers. For agriculture, plantation workers receive P245 while non-plantation workers get P235 a day.
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