The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) in Central Visayas filed a P90 across-the-board daily wage increase before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB 7) at 4 p.m yesterday.
They said the petition was in response to the rising fare rates and increases in the prices of basic and prime commodities caused by the global fuel price increases.
But Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan “Dondi” Joseph said the petition was untimely and focus should be on job creation.
“You now, wage increases will not solve the problems of the economy or the increasing cost of living. The government has to focus on creating jobs, creating more employment for more Filipinos,” Joseph said.
Ferdinand Jumapao, OIC Area vice-president of ALU-TUCP Central Visayas, said the filing of the petition was planned even before the 50 centavo fare increase took effect.
Jumapao said the petition is in response to the erosion of the purchasing power of the worker’s current P305 daily minimum wage.
The last wage order amounting to P20 took effect last Sept. 22, 2011.
The wage order fixed the daily wage rate for workers in Metro Cebu to P305 a day.
Under the law, the wage board can only act on wage hike petition one year after the last issuance of the wage order, unless there are supervening events.
The petition gained support from workers like security guard Benjie Estrelloso, a resident of Lapu-Lapu City.
“Our salary can only meet our needs and I can’t even make savings,” he said.
The wage hike petition cited government figures last December that showed that the purchasing power of the latest minimum wage of P305/daily was only P157.00, which meant a reduction of 51.5 percent.
It said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in region 7 also rose from 121.4 to 122.9 or the equivalent of P1.24 percent from June last year to February this year.
Joseph agreed that the cost of living was affected and there must be some relief from the government to all the workers.
But he said it should not be through the wage increase.
He said a reward system based on productivity and profit-sharing may be more beneficial for both worker and company.
“It’s better to have three people with jobs earning P400 compared to one person earning P490’, Joseph said.
If the country’s labor costs becomes prohibitive, investments will go to other counties in Asia, he added. /Correspondents Jhunnex Napallacan and Carine M. Asutilla