Negotiations for higher wages should be between officials of a company and their workers, it should not be decided on a nationwide or regionwide basis, Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said yesterday.
The Negros-Panay Alliance of Labor filed a manifestation at a Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board consultation in Bacolod City Tuesday for a P30 to P40 wage increase in Western Visayas, while petitions for P97 and P95 increases in the region are awaiting board action.
Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said businesses have been faced with a 10 to 20 percent drop in sales this year and cannot afford a pay hike now.
The governor said negotiations for wage hike should be done on a company to laborer basis, because there are some firms that are on the brink of bankruptcy.
If wage hikes are pushed on companies that cannot afford to give them, they could close down, causing loss of jobs, he said.
“What we should concentrate on is how to create jobs,” he said.
If there are a lot of jobs, wages will level off according to market forces, the governor said.
“The more we increase wages, less firms will invests here,” he warned.
“We should work at attracting investors to create more jobs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ronald Ian Evidente, spokesperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno Negros, reacting to Carbon’s opposition to a wage hike because of a drop in sales, said “The only way to increase business sales is to increase workers’ wages to raise the purchasing capacity of the consumer and not to press down wages.”
He said the real reason for the drop of sales is the drop of worker-consumers’ purchasing power due to increase in prices of basic commodities and not wage increase.
“It’s been decade now that workers have failed to receive a substantial wage hike since the RTWPB was created,” Evidente said.
“I think Carbon is wrong in expecting from the government infrastructure projects to pump-prime the economy. Capitalists must share the profit created by workers by way of increasing consumers’ purchasing to increase sales of business at the same time,” Evidente said.*CPG