No pay hike appeal for workers

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star, 6 November 2003

Workers nationwide are not getting any wage increase, at least for this year, as organized labor opted anew to abandon the annual tradition of seeking salary adjustments.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s biggest labor group, said all their affiliate unions are not filing any wage increase petition this year due to the prevailing economic slump.

We believe it is not reasonable to file wage petitions before the different Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) given the economic condition at this time, TUCP spokesman Alex Aguilar said.

Aguilar added that not even the latest increase in prices of oil and other petroleum products would prompt TUCP and their affiliate unions to seek wage increase this year.

Inflation that affects the purchasing power of the peso is our primary consideration in seeking wage increase and not increase in oil prices, Aguilar explained.

But he noted that they would continue assessing the economic situation and decide whether to finally seek adjustments for workers wages early next year.

Last year, the Labor Solidarity Movement (LSM) and TUCP also deferred the filing of formal wage petitions before RTWPBs until a substantial improvement in the economy is seen.

In 2001, the RTWPB in the National Capital Region (NCR) granted a P30 increase to the prevailing P250 minimum wage rate of workers in the region. The wage board granted the increase in response to the petition of the LSM for a P70 daily wage hike for Metro Manila workers.

The different wage boards nationwide are mandated to review current salary levels and may grant salary adjustments even without a formal wage petition.

But the wage boards very rarely grant a wage increase motu propio or without a formal wage petition.