By MAR S ARGUELLES
LEGAZPI CITY: Thousands of workers in Bicol are pressing for an increase in the daily wage ranging from P37 to P67 to help them cope with the increasing prices of basic commodities, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last Monday.
The demand for a wage hike was strongly sought in a joint petition recently filed with the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) by the Alliance on Progressive Labor, Pinagkaisang Manggagawa sa Kooperatiba sa Kuryente-Bicol, and the Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative Independent Union Employees (CINDUEM).
The wage hike sought by the joint proposal includes, among others, a P37.16 in daily pay increase, a P60.11 hike for agriculture sector and P66.43 increase in the non-agriculture sector as recovery of real wage that was not granted in previous years.
They are also asking for the activation of the Regional Tripartite Monitoring Board to ensure compliance by employers in the region with the new minimum wage that the RTWPB is expected to set based on the petition.
DOLE Wage Order No. 15 issued in 2012 granted a P252 daily pay to employees in establishments with more than 10 workers and P228 daily pay for establishments with 10 employees and below.
DOLE statistics indicate that there are 27,460 business establishments with 123,428 workers in Bicol.
DOLE Regional Director Nathaniel Lacambra, who also sits as RTWPB chair, said the board will start a series of public hearings on the petition in all the six provinces of Bicol early next month.
The pay hike would caution the negative effects of the continuing spikes in fuel prices that triggered the escalation in the prices of basic commodities.
Lacambra, who is also the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board chairperson, hoped the public hearing would address and arrive at a “win-win” policy for both parties.
He said “the public hearing is the most appropriate occasion to discuss and air all positions, views, comments and suggestions regarding the wage issue.
He said “the result of the public hearing will serve as input to the Board in crafting a win-win policy decision on the wage issue.”
Lacambra explained the recently held public hearing would be a prelude to the issuance of a new wage order that would address labor issues confronting labor and management.
The hearings, expected to be attended by management and labor representatives, re scheduled on Oct 3 in Masbate, Oct 8 in Catanduanes, Oct. 10 in Sorsogon, Oct 17 in CamSur, Oct 18 in CamNorte, and Oct. 21 in Albay, Lacambra said. - Bicol Mail