LEADERS of Nagkaisa, a coalition of over 40 of the biggest labor groups in the country, called on President Duterte to finally reform “weak” region-based wage fixing system.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the coalition said the reported P25-wage hike approved by the Regional Tripatite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) exposed the flaws in Republic Act (RA) 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989.
Nagkaisa said labor representatives in these boards are usually outvoted by three representatives from the government and two from employers in deciding the amount of the wage hike.
It said this usually result to a minimal wage hike for workers.
“It manifests a subdued or tamed bargaining power of labor in the RTWPB where representation is not in parity with employers and government representatives who hold the majority,” Nagkaisa said.
Nagkaisa Chairman and Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Jose Sonny G. Matula urged Duterte to fulfill his campaign promise of restoring the national minimum wage mechanism.
“There is a need to revise our law on minimum wage [fixing], which was placed under [the jurisdiction] of the regional wage boards in 1989,” Matula said.
Prior to RA 6727, it were lawmakers who decided on the minimum wage of workers nationwide.
Matula also appealed to include a provision of “industry-bargaining” approach in deciding minimum-wage rates.
Under the said scheme, minimum-wage rates will differ depending on industry rather than geographical location.
Nagkaisa expressed disappointment over the said P25-wage hike in NCR since it was way below the P334-wage hike being proposed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), which it also supports.
Last week Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III denied the P25-pay hike is already final. He said he will be announcing the official new amount of the minimum-wage increase in NCR in the morning of November 5.
TUCP Vice President Louie Corral warned a P25-wage hike in NCR will lead to a widespread industrial unrest. - By Samuel P. Medenilla