Villanueva asks gov’t to consider another wage hike

MANILA Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday urged the government to consider the possibility of another wage hike and study the supervening conditions that would justify such increase.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development, made the call in response to Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III's statement that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) will entertain the new wage petition if there is a "supervening condition".

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has filed a petition seeking a PHP710 per day across-the-board wage increase for the NCR workers.

"We should not immediately close our doors on the possibility of having a second wage increase in less than a year," Villanueva said.

"Government must look into the supervening conditions to justify whether there is a need for another increase. Examining this issue in our current social and economic context is also necessary," he added.

He said the new wage petition should be studied well and evaluated by the Regional Wages and Productivity Board since it cited an issue of prevalence of malnutrition, which he said is a "valid" concern.

He also cited a study of Save the Children Philippines in 2015 that placed the country's stunting rate at 33 percent, noting that it is very relevant to wages and whether workers and their families are nourished.

According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission's (NWPC) rules of procedure, any wage order can only be issued once a year and no petition for a salary hike may be entertained within the 12-month period upon effectivity of the order.

"In the event, however, that supervening conditions, such as extraordinary increase in prices of petroleum products and basic goods/services, demand a review of the minimum wage rates as determined by the Board and confirmed by the Commission, the Board shall proceed to exercise its wage fixing function even before the expiration of the said period," it added.

In November 2018, the RTWPB-NCR granted a PHP25 pay increase for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, bringing the current daily minimum wage to PHP537.

On Monday, the TUCP filed a petition before the RTWPB-NCR, seeking to increase the daily minimum wage from PHP537 to PHP1,247.

The TUCP cited the urgent need to address the growing health problems caused by "nutritionally deficient survival meals" such as instant noodles, canned sardines, among others. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency