Biz leader: No supervening event to warrant wage hike

Erwin P. Nicavera

A LOCAL business leader yesterday said there is no supervening event yet that warrants a new wage increase for workers in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental.

Frank Carbon, regional governor of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Western Visayas and Negros Island, told SunStar Bacolod that the plan of the labor group to file a petition for wage increase cannot be done without supervening conditions.

“There is no need for another wage increase yet, but we could discuss with the labor sector the present employer profile in Region 6 that influences wage structure and increase,” Carbon said.

The management sector could also discuss how to influence labor to go back to rural areas to help solve lack of manpower in the farms, he added.

Earlier, labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-6 Wennie Sancho said that if the upsurge in the prices of oil continues, this will constitute a supervening condition which merits the passage of a new wage order despite the increase early this year.

Sancho, secretary-general of General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), said prices of petroleum products already increased seven times in the last two months and this may result to increases in the prices of basic goods and services affecting mainly the workers.

Also, the problem will be compounded if the excise tax will be approved imposing a tax of P6 per liter of fuel, the labor leader said, adding that “this will further erode the workers’ purchasing power and will negate all the economic gains they had from the previous wage hike.”

Prices of prime and basic commodities in the province have remained stable, monitoring results of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Negros Occidental showed.

Meaning, if there are movements, the prices are still within the suggested retail prices (SRPs), the agency reported.

Carbon, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said the business sector will not oppose the filing of a petition for wage increase if ever there are indeed supervening conditions.

He said, however, that the employers’ classification must be revised to reflect their “real” capacity to pay.

“Through this, we will slowly increase our working middle class and be able to share the progress of the urban to rural areas by buying the produce of our farmers at a better price,” Carbon added.

Last March, the RTWPB 6 issued Wage Order No. 23 providing P15 to P25 daily minimum wage increase for workers in the region, including Negros Occidental. It replaced the previous order that provided an increase of P11.50 daily.