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PIA Press Release

Regional Wage Board IX cites achievements for 2000-2008

By Michael Vincent D. Cajulao

Zamboanga City (26 February) -- The Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) IX has ordered seven (7) wage increases for Zamboanga peninsula from 2000 to 2008 to help the region's workforce cope up w/ inflations during the said period.

Inflations caused by external factors, specifically the volatile world market, prompted the government to increase the private sector workers' daily wage and also order additional Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), through the local wage board to make sure that a ?win-win? solution will be reached by the employers and labor sectors without jeopardizing economic growth in the region. RTWPB IX conducted series of consultations throughout the region to come up w/ viable and feasible adjustments on the workers' pay.

The first wage order was approved on November 8, 2000, mandating employers to pay the workers w/ the adjusted rate according to category or sector identified by the wage board. Under this order, non-agricultural sector w/c includes private hospitals, educational institutions, security and janitorial agencies, service/ retail establishments employing 30 or more workers, should receive P165.00 per day. However, retail establishments employing less than 30 persons should pay their workers P145.00 per day. Agriculture sector, on the other hand, should pay their workers P110.00 to P140.00 per day depending on the nature of their work. Plantation workers should be paid P140.00 while non-plantation staff are to receive P120.00. Rubber-based plantation workers should receive P130.00 while non-plantation rate is at P110.00 on a daily basis, w/ 8 hours of working time.

On February 21, 2002, RTWPB IX approved the inclusion a P10.00 Cost of Living Allowance or COLA to all private workers in the region receiving the daily minimum wage approved in 2000. The order took effect on March 16, 2002.

With the continuing inflation in the market, RTWPB came up with a new wage hike order in 2004, increasing the minimum wage in the region between ranging from P10 to P15. The said order was approved on April 20, 2004 and took effect on May 8, 2004. The following year, the board approved an additional P20.00 COLA, to be implemented on a staggered basis. Under this order, P16.00 of the P20.00 COLA was implemented on June 26, 2005, and the remaining four pesos was added the following year on May 1, 2006. Two months after, RTWPB ordered that the recent P20.00 COLA be integrated into the basic minimum wage followed by another P15.00 increase, thus, bringing the salary range of P170.00 to P215.00 on an eight hour work basis. The local wage board again added a P10.00 COLA in 2007.

The latest wage increase in the region was approved and implemented in 2008. The wage board approved an additional P20.00 COLA covering all workers from the listed category w/ five pesos of the P20.00 pesos integrated to the basic minimum wage after 3 months of implementation.

A report coming from RTWPB IX head Mr. Joel Ijirani said that there is already a petition for a new wage increase filed before the regional board last December 1, 2009 seeking for the integration of the existing P15.00 COLA to the workers' basic minimum wage and an additional P50.00 per day across the board increase, but the Board momentarily deferred the deliberation until necessary.

The Board also agreed that a Technical Working Group (TWG) should be created to handle the issue on the COLA integration based on their meeting last Jan. 14 and 27. This TWG will be composed of the Department of Trade and Industry, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Agriculture, Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board, ECOP and RTWPB as its secretariat. The group was expected to present its assessment report today. The Board is set to conduct sectoral consultations sometime in April, this year to assess the feasibility of the said petition for new minimum wage in the region. (PIA-ZC) [top]

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