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RTWPB XI to meet industries, labor on planned wage increase

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) XI will conduct a day-long public hearing next month to consult different sectors on the marching order by the Labor Secretary Silvestre Bellow to determine if an adjustment to the minimum wage is necessary.

In a statement of RTWPB XI, the region-wide public hearing would be conducted on June 6 at Grand Men Seng hotel, which will be attended by employers representatives, labor groups, and other sectors.

The labor groups and various industries are also encouraged to submit their position papers before the dialogue.

The RTWPB XI already started to review the minimum wage early this year. Last week, President Rodrigo R. Duterte also ordered the regional wage boards in the country to convene and discuss possible wage hikes as inflation continues to expand that already hit low-income earners.

Maria Lourdes D. Lim, vice chair of RTWPB XI and regional director of National Economic and Development Authority XI, said they are the assessing the current minimum pay as there is now an inflationary movement that pushed up the prices of basic commodities.

Data from Philippines Statistics Authority XI bared that the inflation rate grew 4.3% in April from the 4.1% in January to March.

Lim said the change in prices in some products is attributed to the implementation of the tax reform law, which imposes a hike on taxes especially on petroleum, fuel, cars, cigarettes, and sweetened beverages.

“We will look into the minimum wage and see how to catch up with the inflationary movement,” Lim said.

The last wage order issued by the RTWPB XI was in December 2016, which imposed minimum wage rate of P340 to non-agriculture and retail and service with over 10 workers, P335 to agriculture sector and P325 to retail and service with less than 10 workers.

On March 26, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) also petitioned to RTWPB XI to increase the minimum wage by P104. The labor organization requested that it should be across the board.

In the four-page petition of ALU-TUCP, the proposed hike is essential to help workers “(a) cope with the increasing cost of living, (b) meet the basic needs of workers and their families, even if only partially, and (c) giving meaning and substance to the country’s policy of equitable distribution of income and wealth.”

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