Employers back staggered wage hike

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Employers back staggered wage hike
Workers are seen performing their duties at a constructi site in Taguig on February 7, 2024.
Ernie Penaredondo

ECOP wants wage setting left to regional boards

MANILA, Philippines — The umbrella organization of employers in the country believes it is best to leave decisions on wage increases, which have historically been implemented on a staggered basis, to the regional wage boards.

Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the group is of the view that wage hikes should be decided by the wage boards.

“Staggered basis is precisely what the tripartite regional wage board has been doing,” he said when asked to comment on the suggestion to have the proposed P100 wage hike staggered over time.

“All these increases should be well studied, calibrated and balanced by the board,” he said.

Senate Bill 2534, which proposes the P100 wage hike, was approved on third and final reading last Monday.

Earlier, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, who also serves as lead for the jobs cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council, said that while he supports the proposed wage hike, this should not be implemented all at once, but be spread over a period of time.

In the past administrations, wage increases, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR), were being implemented gradually, based on data from ECOP.

During the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, there were three wage increases implemented in the NCR amounting to a total of P79.

The first wage increase amounting to P21 took effect in October 2017, followed by a P25 hike in November 2018 and a P33 increase in June 2022.

During the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, four wage increases took effect totaling P57.

Of the total wage increase during this period, the first came into effect in July 2010 amounting to P22, followed by P10 in October 2013, P15 in  April 2015 and P10 in  June 2016.

Under the current administration, a wage increase of P40 for workers in NCR took effect in July last year.

Earlier, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the proposed P100 wage hike would reduce economic growth, and lead to higher inflation and unemployment.

While the agency would want improvement in wages, he said the NEDA is of the view that wages should  be negotiated at the regional level.

“Allowing those negotiations to take place at the regional level would take into account those significant differences in the labor market conditions and economic conditions in those areas,” he said.

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