NCR wage board orders P33 pay hike

AROUND 1.4 million workers are expected to benefit from the new round of wage hikes approved by the regional wage boards in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Western Visayas.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-NCR (RTWPB-NCR) issued Wage Order No. NCR-23 granting a P33 minimum wage hike in Metro Manila. 

“It is expected to protect around one million minimum wage earners in private establishments in the region from undue low pay,” DOLE said. 

Once it takes effect after its publication, the wage order will bring the daily minimum wage rate for non-agriculture workers to P570 and for agriculture workers to P533. 

The RTWPB-Region 6 also issued Wage Order No. RBVI-26 implementing the following wage hikes: P55 for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments with more than 10 workers and; P110 for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial firms employing less than 10 workers; and P95 for workers in the agriculture sector. 

With such wage adjustments, the wage rates in Western Visayas are now P450  for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments with more than 10 workers; P420 for non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments with less than 10 workers; and P410 for workers in the agriculture sector. 

“It is expected to protect around 214,836 minimum wage earners in private establishments in the region from undue low pay,” DOLE said. 

Over 160,000 domestic workers in Western Visayas will also be getting a P500 monthly pay increase.

The RTWPB-Region 6 issued Wage Order No. RBVI-DW-04 which will set the minimum wage rate for domestic workers in the region to P4,500.  

The wage adjustments are expected to help in the “restoration of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners” amid rising inflation. 

The three new Wage Orders will be submitted to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) for review and shall take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation. 

Too little 

Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) slammed the latest round of minimum wage hikes in NCR and Region 6 for being too little to offset the lack of pay increase nationwide since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

“It almost took 3 years for them to grant the pay hike and currently only two regions have done it. It is just crumbs given to workers,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said. 

This was echoed by the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at mga Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), who said the wage adjustment in NCR fall short of addressing the effects of inflation. 

“According to the NWPC, as early as February 2022, real wage eroded by 43 pesos. Wage erosion worsened since then. After all, the inflation rate in April 2022 in the NCR climbed to 4.4 percent and 5.1 percent outside NCR,” Sentro said. 

“The P33 wage increase is a pittance and woefully inadequate,” it added. 

Nevertheless, Labog still considers the new wage orders as an indication of the labor groups’ success in demanding higher pay.  

He called on other RTWPBs to also give their respective wage orders to help workers cope with the rising cost of living. 

The labor leader also urged the 19th Congress to prioritize the passage of a law, which will implement a P750 National Minimum Wage.

“The workers, those in unions and organizations, for the rights and welfare of workers,” Labog said. 

The government’s economic managers discourage the granting of a minimum wage hike this year, noting this could contribute to an even higher inflation rate.