Labor group pushes for P92 wage increase in Central Visayas

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Associated Labor Union (ALU) is pushing for a P92 across-the-board wage increase for workers in Central Visayas, but the business sector thinks the amount is too much.

In its proposal submitted to the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board in Central Visayas (RTWPB-VII) onTuesday, July 21, the labor group said the increase is needed even though the prices of petroleum has significantly dropped.

The commodities and the cost of living, however, did not drop like the petroleum prices, according to Art Barrit of the ALU.

Other labor groups have asked for a higher across-the-board wage increase. On July 13, the Cebu Labor Coalition and the Alliance of Progressive Labor sought a P140 across-the-board wage increase for the region.

All labor groups agree that the Central Visayas' minimum wage – P340 – is lower compared to that of the National Capital Region. 

The regional wage board will hold a meeting on July 31 to discuss the proposals.

In an interview with dyLA-AM, a radio station operated by the ALU-TUCP, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Maria Teresa Chan said both proposals are too high. 

Based on an inflation rate of 3-4%, the increase should only be between P13.6 and P15, she said.

An amount higher than that would hurt the industry, she added. “Let us not kill each other. Let us survive together.”

She explained that 60% of Cebu businesses are anchored on the services sector, and will be significantly affected if wages are increased.

In a services business, majority of the cost is manpower, Chan said.

Chan also said that the BPO companies, which are multinational, may be able to afford the P15 increase, but other “indpenedent BPOs” will have a difficult time coping with such cost, much more with the proposed P92 and P140 across-the-board wage increase. –