(Source: Interkasyon | September 29, 2017)
Private businesses in Metro Manila face higher costs starting next month as a daily minimum wage increase takes effect on Oct. 5, after Wage Order No. NCR-21 was approved last Sept. 14.
This means that the existing P491 daily minimum salary for more than six million minimum wage earners in non-agricultural sector in Metro Manila will increase to P512, while agriculture workers, those working in retail or service establishments with up to 15 workers and those in manufacturing establishments with less than 10 employees shall be entitled to P475, composed of the P465 basic wage and the P10 COLA.
“The wage rates shall apply to all minimum wage earners in the private sector in the region regardless of their position, designation, or status of employment and irrespective of the method of which they are paid,” the board said.
Exempted are “distressed establishments,” retail or service establishments regularly employing up to 10 people and establishments adversely affected by natural or human-caused disasters.
Three labor groups had asked for much-higher across-the-board increases in official applications filed in June: the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines’ P259, the Associated Labor Unions’ P184 and the Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates-Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization’s P175.
Metro Manila usually opens the floodgates for a fresh round of daily minimum wage hike petitions in the country’s 16 other regions.
A check with NWPC showed that Region IV-A, or the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon region (Calabarzon) — which last year had the second-biggest contribution to national output next to NCR at 16.8% and which together with Metro Manila accounted for more than half of gross domestic product — had, among others, a P60 petition filed by the Federation of Free Workers last Aug. 7.
Another area, Region VII or Central Visayas, has a P145.10 across-the-board hike petition filed by the Cebu Labor Coalition, Lonbisco Employees Organization, Metaphil Workers Union and the Union Bank Employees Association.
John D. Forbes, senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said via text that “we do share concerns… that rapidly rising wages benefits workers in regional competitors as they get the jobs that are not coming to the Philippines.”
“Three Korean manufacturers have left here for Vietnam this year because costs are cheaper there,” Mr. Forbes noted.
“We have 28 non-working holidays this year, which is not more fun for investors.”
The Philippines’ rank in pay and productivity in the World Economic Forum’s “The Global Competitiveness Report” fell to 43rd out of 137 economies this year from 37th out of 138 countries in 2016.
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