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Pay raise may have to wait until after May 1, Labor Day

Minimum wage earners in the National Capital Region (NCR) may have to wait after May 1, Labor Day, before they can possibly get a pay increase.

This after the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-NCR) Chairman Sarah B. Mirasol said their deadline to act on the four pending wage petitions from labor groups will be on May 5, 2022.

She explained they would conduct the stakeholder consultation with labor groups on April 8 and with employers’ groups on April 19.

The consultations will then be followed by a public hearing, which will be announced through a published notice.

“We can only conduct the public hearing 15 days after it is published. On the 16th day [after the publication] or May 5 [2022] that is that time we can conduct it,” Mirasol explained in a virtual forum last Tuesday.

Mandated rules

The regional wage boards are mandated under Republic Act (RA) 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act, to conduct consultation and public hearing before they could issue a new wage order.

Mirasol explained they must strictly comply with the said rules to avoid any questions on the legality of the new wage order they will issue.

Otherwise, she noted the order will be “exposed to appeal or irregularity,” which could invalidate it.

“Instead of us being able to immediately implement [the order] after its publication, we will be subject to appeal or certiorari, wherein we cannot implement the wage order,” Mirasol said.

Pending petitions

Currently, the RTWPB-NCR has four pending wage petitions, which seek to raise the daily minimum wage rate in Metro Manila between P213 to P470.

The oldest of the petitions, which is seeking to raise the existing P500 to P530 minimum wage rate in NCR to P750, was filed by Unity for Wage Increase Now (UWIN) way back in November 25, 2019.

In separate wage petitions filed last March 4, the Metro East Labor Federation and the Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms also asked the RTWPB-NCR for a similar wage adjustment as UWIN.

Thus, the three wage petitions were consolidated by the RTWPB-NCR.

The last petition, which aims to raise the daily minimum wage in NCR by P470, was refiled by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) last Monday.

To note, the RTWPB-NCR denied due course the initial petition filed by TUCP last March 14 since it sought an across-the-board pay increase, which is beyond the mandate of the wage boards.

Under RA  6727, RTWPBs could only act on petitions for minimum wage earners.

“For petitions concerning across-the-board wage increases for workers, it should probably be addressed to Congress,” Mirasol said.

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