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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Let wage boards rule on pay hikes, Chamber of Commerce asks gov’t

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) appealed to Congress to let wage boards decide on wage increases rather than push for a legislated increase that would only benefit a few and disenfranchise other members of the labor force.

PCCI president Eunina Mangio said the proposed P100 legislated wage increase co-authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Jinggoy Estrada, which is now on the third and final reading, will only benefit five million workers, while 47 million who are in the informal sector will be left behind.

“The P100 proposed wage will not even be enough when inflation goes up. Why don’t we instead legislate measures to address the rising cost in food prices and other issues that hamper our economic growth?” she said.

Congress should allow the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to decide on minimum wage movements, PCCI said.

Mangio warned the move will be a deterrent to foreign companies eyeing the Philippines as a destination for investments.

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“No one would ever try to look at the Philippines once they see that legislators can enact wage hikes anytime even disregarding the authority of the National Wage Board,” she said.

PCCI local chambers also expressed their strong opposition to the proposed P100 legislated wage increase.

“The proposed legislation directly infringes upon the RTWPB mandate to regulate wage adjustments regionally based on economic conditions.

Centralizing wage determination undermines the board’s ability to tailor wage policies to regional economic realities, thereby risking economic imbalances,” PCCI South Luzon said in a statement.

PCCI Visayas also raised concerns on the impact of a legislated wage hike on efforts to expand economic activities and attract investments.

“By attracting both foreign and local direct investments, we can generate more job opportunities and stimulate economic growth that is inclusive” the group said.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros assured individuals employed under contractual agreements, sub-contractual agreements, or manpower agencies earning the minimum wage will be included in the proposed wage hike.

“We assure construction workers, security guards, utilities, waiters, and other workers in the service sector, who are oftentimes contractual or sub-contractual, would not be left behind,” she said.

“This is a way to show equal treatment and fair labor practices to all workers, regardless of their employment status,” she said.

The Senate recently passed Senate Bill No. 2534, also known as the “P100 Daily Minimum Wage Increase Act of 2023,” which mandates a P100 daily wage hike for all private sector workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.

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