TACLOBAN CITY (PNA) – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Eastern Visayas has granted a Php14.50/day increase in the salaries of sugar industry (non-plantation) workers and integrated the existing P 15.00 per day cost of living allowance (COLA) into the basic wage for all sectors.
The board issued Wage Order No. 18 on Tuesday afternoon, seeking to eliminate wage rates that are below the poverty daily threshold.
“We adjusted the pay of non-plantation sugar industry workers from Php220.50 to Php235 to raise the capacity of low-income workers to buy their basic needs. We cannot deny that their income is very low,” RTWPB chairman and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional director Elias Cayanong told reporters.
Under Wage Order No. 18, which is up for approval by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), the RTWPB ruled that Php15 COLA under Wage Order No. 16 issued in May 2011 will be added to the basic pay. Workers can still receive a Php7 daily COLA under Wage Order No. 17 issued in October 2012.
Meanwhile, the non-adjustment of basic pay for other sectors is DOLE’s response to requests of employers’ groups for a “status quo” on the wage structure in the region due to impacts of recent natural calamities.
The wage body has called on financially distressed retail and services establishments employing less than 10 workers to “negotiate to determine their own wage level.”
“For the small retail and services sector, where 90 percent of our establishments are under that category, the Php15 COLA was also integrated to the existing daily minimum wage of Php229,” said RTWPB Secretary Florencio Aguilos added.
Workers in the non-plantation sector of sugar industry, and small retail and services, are the least income earners covered by the minimum wage law with a daily pay of Php220.50 and Php229, respectively under Wage Order No. 17.
With the adjustment, the minimum wage in Eastern Visayas now ranges from Php235 to Php260 across sectors.
The wage body has not received any petition for adjustment from workers’ groups, but they initiated the conduct of public consultation and hearing motu proprio or on their own.
The RTWPB presented this week the final draft of their board’s decision to the NWPC. The national wage body will review the decision for a week.
After the approval, the regional board will publish their decision in a local newspaper and it will take effect after 15 days.