Group wants additional P104 to minimum wage

A LABOR organization has petitioned the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) XI to increase by P104 the minimum wage set in Davao region.

Sofriano Mataro, regional vice president of Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) and spokesperson of Nagkaisa-Davao, said in yesterday’s press conference at the group’s office in Roxas Avenue that they proposed an across-the-board hike in minimum wage.

“It is high time that the pay should be increased, considering the hike in inflation and the impact of the tax reform law that pulled up prices in some products,” Mataro said. The region’s inflation rate, for instance, grew to 4.1% in March from 2.5% a year ago, basing on the data from Philippine Statistics Authority.

The last wage order issued by the RTWPB was in December 2016, which imposed minimum wage rate of P340 to non-agriculture and retail and service with over 10 workers, P335 to agriculture sector and P325 to retail and service with less than 10 workers.

In the four-page petition of ALU-TUCP, the proposed hike is essential to help workers “(a) cope with the increasing cost of living, (b) meet the basic needs of workers and their families, even if only partially, and (c) giving meaning and substance to the country’s policy of equitable distribution of income and wealth.”

The petition was submitted to the RTWPB XI on March 26.

In response to the petition of the labor organization, RTWPB XI chair Raymundo Agravante said in his letter to ALU-TUCP on April 5 that they will treat the group’s request as an input as the board is currently reviewing the present minimum wage set in the region.

“The Regional Board on its Jan. 17 meeting has already initiated a motu propio review of the current minimum wage order through the conduct of consultations with various agencies and organizations as it carries out its mandate to review, and, if proper, adjust the regional minimum wage,” Agravante said, who is also the regional director of Department of Labor and Employment XI.

The review also includes looking on the current economic condition of the region, including the impact of the tax reform law.

But Mataro said they have yet to be consulted by the RTWPB XI in their review on the minimum wage. He said the wage board should consider their proposal to help minimum wage earners restore their purchasing power, now that the prices of products are on the rise.

“As in the past wage orders, the RTWPB XI’s evaluation is most likely to end up giving loose change to workers,” Mataro said.

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