DOLE: Minimum wage hike known in October

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    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Minimum wage hike in Central Luzon is expected to be determined in early October, although how much will be granted and when the increase will take effect still have to be resolved.

    In an interview with Punto, DOLE regional director Ernesto Bihis said that labor sector wants a P75 minimum wage hike, amid information that the management sector was willing to give only from P10 to P12 pay increase.

    The DOLE finished earlier this week its consultations with the labor sectors held in Olongapo City, Bulacan and Pampanga where the workers batted for the P75 wage hike.

    Bihis said that last Aug.24, the consultation with the Central Luzon’s management sector, held at the Angeles Electric Corp. in Angeles City, was also held. While the sector had not disclosed its position on the minimum wage issue, he cited reports that most representatives of the management who attended the consultation supported an increase of P10 to P12.

    “We will try to resolve this in a joint public hearing slated on Sept. 20,” he said. The hearing, to which both labor and management representatives from Central Luzon’s seven provices were invited, will be held at Partyplace Restaurant in San Fernando, Pampanga.

    “We expect both sectors to ventillate their positions during that event. All the inputs will be subject to evaluation and analysis in the backdrop of the economic situation in Central Luzon, before the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board comes out with its decision on the wage hike,” Bihis added.

    He said he expected a decision on wage hike “in early October”, adding that the effectivity of a wage hike would also depend on the RTPWB.

    “Such wage hike could be retroactive, effective immediately or deferred for implementation depending on the analysis of the board,” he said.

    The move for the P75 wage increase in Central Luzon was initiated by a petition filed by a member of regional Trade Union Council of the Philippines (TUCP).

    “That’s what the TUCP in the region wants, although we know the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) has stuck to its P125 wage increase demand,” Bihis said.

    Bihis noted that the labor sector in Central Luzon tend to be sympathetic to the difficulties affecting the management sector amid global economic crunch and the effects of severe weather disturbances last year amid an 8.5 percent unemployment rate in the region.

    The last wage order in Central Luzon was dated June 16, 2008. The present wage rates in the region?s provinces, except Aurora, is P302 for non-agricultural workers of firms with assets worth P30 million or more, P294.50 for workers for firms with less assets and P272 for agricultural plantation workers and P256 for non-plantation workers.

    In hospitals with 20 or more beds, the minimum wage is P293, while those in hospitals with less beds get P278. Retail outlets with 16 or more workers are supposed to give a minimum pay of P291 while those with less workers pay them P277. Cottage industry workers get a minimum of P256.

    In Aurora, which is regarded as most rural in the region, the pay for workers is P251 in the non-agriculture sector and in agriculture, P236 for plantation workers and P216 for non-plantation workers, while retail industry workers get P173. Those in the cottage industry get a pay of P224.

    Bihis said he expected some employers affected by the economic crunch would apply for exemptions in case another minimum wage in approved in Central Luzon. He noted that among those significantly adversely affected are sectors in garments, tourism, transport and power generation.

    “I suppose that those in retail and service employing less than 10 workers can be considered from exemptions,” he added.


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