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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, September 7, 2013
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Wage ruling won't be out soon;
Labor rep slams slow process

A decision on a petition for a wage increase in Western Visayas is not likely to take place soon, as one more public hearing has to be held after which the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board has 30 days to come up with its ruling.

Labor Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom Jr. also said yesterday that the public hearing will be on the petition of the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers' Union - Trade Union Congress of the Philippines to increase WV wages by P113.57 for commercial and industrial workers, P100.45 for workers in plantations with more than 24 hectares, and P96.35 for those in plantations with less than 24 hectares.

Ligutom said consultations on the petition for a wage increase have been held in the various provinces of the region and the RTWPB will meet on Sept. 10 to decide when to hold a public hearing in Iloilo before members of the board come up with their decision.

He does not expect a decision out next month, but said a wage adjustment is likely to be ordered within the year.

Aside from labor and management needs, they will also consider wage increases imposed on neighboring regions in making their decision to ensure that WV remains attractive to investors, Ligutom said.

Wennie Sancho, RTWPB labor representative, said hearings should be concluded within 45 days from the date of initial consultation.

“We started consultations on June 27 so it should have concluded on August 12, after which, a public hearing should have been set,” he said.

He also said they are behind schedule and this should be expedited by the RTWPB because it is urgent.

Fuel and rice prices have gone up, the working force in the region need immediate economic relief, he said.

“We reject the two-tiered salary increase scheme suggested by the labor department as the second tier is voluntary and not mandatory on the part of management,” he added.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz earlier said a two-tier wage system consists of a fixed “floor wage,” or entry level for new entrants and low-skilled workers, and a flexible wage above the floor based on worker's productivity and performance of the industry and enterprises, which may be negotiated between the employer and the workers.

“In this sense, this policy reform allows enterprises to determine wages according to their circumstances while at the same time satisfying both the social and economic functions of minimum wage,” Baldoz said.

She also said the wage boards will determine the new floor wage, factoring in the current poverty threshold, average wage, and socioeconomic conditions in the region.*CPG



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