Western Visayas

Western Visayas workers get wage hike starting June 5

Joseph B.A. Marzan
Western Visayas workers get wage hike starting June 5

WAGE HIKE. Labor in Western Visayas, including those working in agriculture and domestic settings, will get wage hikes starting June 5.

Inday Espina-Varona

The Iloilo Business Club opposes the wage hike, calling it 'ill-timed' and warns it could derail economic recovery

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Workers’ wages are set to increase in Western Visayas starting on June 5 after the publication of the latest regional wage orders in a local daily on Friday, May 20.

Wage Order Nos. RBVI-26 and RB-6-DW-04 were published on Friday, May 20, via SunStar Bacolod. These orders mandated wage increases for workers in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, as well as for domestic workers.

Salaries of non-agricultural workers will increase by P55 from P395 to P450 in employers having more than 10 workers, and by P110 from P310 to P420 for those employing 10 or less workers.

Agricultural workers’ increase will rise by P95, from P315 to P410.00, while domestic workers’ monthly salaries will go up by P500, from P4,000 to P4,500.

The rise in domestic workers’ pay covers general house help, yayas, cooks, gardeners, laundry persons, and any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis.

Excluded are service providers, family drivers, children under a foster family agreement, and any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational basis.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission approved last Tuesday, May 19, the wage orders submitted by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board on May 12.

The Iloilo Business Club (IBC), which opposed the petitioned total wage increase to P750, continued to voice its dissent against the wage order, calling the recent hikes as “ill-timed”.

In a statement to regional newspaper Daily Guardian, the IBC said that this will hinder businesses’ capabilities as they continue to recover from COVID-19 losses.

Similar to their opposition during the hearing on the wage hike petition last April, they said that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be the most hit.

They also noted that the increase in the region was even higher than that of the National Capital Region.

“This meant an increase by 13.92% to 35%, which is not only very ill-timed, but it blatantly disregards the economic realities being faced by the business community in the province and city of Iloilo, especially since our local businesses are just starting to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” the IBC said in their statement.

“This might derail the economic recovery of Region VI which will ultimately hurt all of us, from the employers to the employees and the public. […] By imposing the Php110 increase on private establishments with 10 and fewer workers, [MSMEs] may be forced to suspend operations, lay off their workers, or even shut down their doors because it would be too much for them,” they warned.

The wage hikes were triggered by a March 14 petition by the FISHTA Union of Employees for Reforms through Solidarity Actions-Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (FUERSA-SUPER), which proposed a higher increase to P750. – Rappler.com 

Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and is a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.