Labor group also wants to review minimum wage

A LABOR coalition, Nagkaisa-Davao, seeks to be included in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board’s (RTWPB 11) initiative to review and possibly raise the region's minimum wage.

Sofriano “Ka Undo” Mataro, spokesperson of Nagkaisa-Davao and regional vice president of the Association of Labor Union-Trade Union Conference of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), said in a press conference Tuesday, April 17, that they fear the wage board will again grant “loose change” to the workers.

Based on the statement of the group, the ALU-TUCP petitioned the regional wage board for P104 across-the-board increase on March 26, 2018, but wage board replied that it initiated a motu propio review of the existing minimum wage in the region during its meeting on January 17, 2018.

Joel Bañas, spokesperson and chair of the Sentro Davao, also a labor group, said if not with the ALU-TUCP's petition they would not have known that the regional wage board has already begun reviewing the workers’ wages since January.

"It is already three months now and no labor group have been consulted and no public hearings were called to discuss the matter. If the regional wage group is talking to some groups, it is not the workers but the employers. Is the right of workers to be heard does not matter nowadays?" Bañas said in the statement.

Raymundo Agravante, Board chairman of RTWPB 11, in a letter addressed to the ALU President Michael Mendoza, said the board has also undertaken studies on the current economic conditions of the region, taking into account but not limited to the regional income, employment, cost of living, and peso purchasing power (PPP) and the effects of TRAIN Law and other significant information.

“Rest assured, however that the aforementioned petition shall be treated as relevant input in our ongoing review of the present Minimum Wage," he said.

The labor coalition asserted that there is a need to raise workmen's wages because the P104 petition of ALU-TUCP is not even enough to recover the lost purchasing power of the regional wage, which is P132.70.

Mataro said according to National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), the real value of the region's minimum wage of P340 is a measly 207.30 only.

"And these figures are as of February 9, 2018. The impact of the excise and value-added taxes under the Train law is still not factored in," he said.

The coalition is now asking for participation on the consultations since they assert that they have the right to be involved.